More than 1000 nonpublic school students flood Annapolis to Advocate for Nonpublic Schools

A crowd of more than 1,000 students and teachers came to Annapolis on March 12 to advocate for Maryland's nonpublic schools 

More than 1,000 students and teachers from nonpublic schools across Maryland gathered in Annapolis on March 12 for Nonpublic Schools Advocacy Day to ask lawmakers to continue funding programs like the BOOST Scholarship program.

Started in 2016, BOOST provides scholarships to students from low-income families to attend the nonpublic school best fit for their educational needs. More than 3,000 students attend nonpublic school through the BOOST program, many who attend Catholic school.

"This was a great year for nonpublic school advocacy day because of the number of appointments our students had with legislators.  It's really important to them to interact directly with senators, delegates and staff, particularly since this is the first year of a new four-year term and there are around 60 new legislators," said Garrett O'Day, deputy director of the Maryland Catholic Conference and vice president of the Maryland chapter of the Council for American Private Education (CAPE). "It goes a long way toward legislators' understanding of how great our schools are, who the students are that they serve, and why they should invest in those students and our schools."

Governor Larry Hogan has proposed increasing the budget for BOOST to $10 million from the current $7.6 million. The Legislature has until April 1 to finalize the budget so exact funding for the 2019-2020 school year is unclear. But the state is now accepting applications for BOOST for the 2019-2020 school year.

Hogan met with students at the rally and said that he is calling on the legislature to not take scholarships away from Maryland kids, but to ensure funding for both public and nonpublic schools.  

In addition to the BOOST scholarship program, students asked legislators to continue their support by way of funding for school safety, aging schools and textbooks. 

Every year CAPE hosts Nonpublic Schools Advocacy Day and generally more than 1,000 students each year make the trip to Annapolis. 

To view more images from the day, check out Gov. Hogan's Flickr