With crowd sizes limited due to construction around the State House, about 300 students and 50 principals, teachers and parents from 27 Catholic, other Christian and Jewish schools across Maryland assembled in Annapolis for the 2023 Nonpublic School Advocacy Day.
A key purpose of the day was for the students and school representatives to advocate for the BOOST (Broadening Options and Opportunities for Students Today) Scholarship Program. New Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s budget proposed cutting BOOST funding from $10 million to $8 million and included language that would phase out the program in a few years.
Over the past seven years, nearly 20,000 BOOST Scholarships have been awarded to low-income students, allowing parents to choose the nonpublic school that best fits their children’s needs. In the 2022-23 school year, 3,248 students are receiving BOOST Scholarships in 21 of Maryland’s 24 counties and the city of Baltimore. All of them are from low-income households, with the average annual household income of all recipients around $36,000. Minority families received 57 percent of the scholarships. Of the BOOST scholarship recipients, 32 percent are Black students and 15 percent are Latino students.
In addition to supporting the BOOST Scholarship Program, the school groups also advocated for nonpublic school safety, textbook and aging schools programs, and for funding for school bus transportation for nonpublic school students.