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Nonpublic School Advocacy Day to be held March 5 in Annapolis

Nonpublic school students from across the state of Maryland will converge in Annapolis on Tuesday, March 5 for the annual Nonpublic School Advocacy Day.

On that day, students will rally at Lawyer’s Mall opposite the State House to advocate for measures that would benefit nonpublic schools, including the Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Scholarship Program and other programs.

Among schools in The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington scheduled so far to participate in the annual event are St. Joseph Regional Catholic School, Beltsville; St. Jude Regional Catholic School, Rockville; St. Mary’s Catholic School, Rockville; St. Michael’s Catholic School, Ridge; and St. Pius X Regional Catholic School, Bowie.

The event will include not only the rally, but a chance for students to visit the State House and view the House and Senate chambers and an opportunity to visit the offices of state delegates and senators.

Students can “lobby” lawmakers on the following issues:

The BOOST Scholarship Program: The Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today (BOOST) Scholarship Program provides scholarships to low-income students and their parents to choose the nonpublic school that is best fit for them. Students can advocate for an increase in BOOST funding.

Nonpublic school bus transportation: House and Senate proposed legislation would provide arefundable tax credit to parents for the cost of providing school bus transportation for their students to and from their nonpublic school.

Nonpublic school health and safety: Urge including in the fiscal year 2025 budget money for health and safety at BOOST program schools that would be used to provide nurses, counselors and other health services, as well as safety improvement grants at those schools.

The Nonpublic Student Textbook/Technology Program: This would provide textbooks and technology to students attending nonpublic schools to help families defer the costs of educational materials. The program provides assistance to schools in the amounts of $65, $95 or $155 per pupil for those materials, depending on the number of lower-income students.

The Senator James “Ed” DeGrange Nonpublic Aging Schools Program: For 10 years, this program has assisted nonpublic schools with deferred-maintenance projects and upgrades for older buildings, making for safer and healthier school days for students.

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