HB0300 - Funding for Educational Organizations Aid to Nonpublic Schools - Nonpublic Student Textbook Program

HB0300 - Funding for Educational Organizations Aid to Nonpublic Schools - Nonpublic Student Textbook Program

Position: Support

Committee: House Education & Economic Development Subcommittee

The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this testimony in SUPPORT of the Nonpublic Student Textbook Program allocation included in the proposed FY2023 Operating Budget.  The Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.  We offer this testimony on behalf of the families of approximately 50,000 students served by over 150 PreK-12 Catholic schools in Maryland.

The Nonpublic Student Textbook Program saves parents a significant amount of money every year, helping to defray the cost of textbooks and technology. With the technological adjustments required over the last two years, this program has provided more important than ever before. 

The program benefits approximately 80,000 students in nearly 400 of Maryland’s nonpublic schools annually, despite being limited to students who attend schools that charge a tuition lower than the state per pupil average.        

Schools with lower-income enrollments receive higher allocation of textbook and technology assistance per student.  As thousands of lower and middle-income families are served by Maryland’s Catholic schools every year, we urge you to maintain or increase this allocation on behalf of these students and working families, to whom this program provides a much-needed benefit.   

Our schools are grateful to the General Assembly for its continued support for nonpublic schools, which educate one in every nine Maryland students. We are also grateful to the administrators at the Maryland State Department of Education, who dedicate themselves in service to our schools to ensure that this and other programs operate successfully. We respectfully request your continued support for the Nonpublic Student Textbook Program in the FY 2023 budget as a means of supporting our students and families.