Acting Education Commissioner Vito Gagliardi today approved Jersey Citys school construction plan, clearing the way for the states second largest school district to move forward with $966 million in critically needed facility improvements.
Under the states innovative Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act, Jersey City and 29 other special needs districts will receive full state funding for their ambitious school improvement plans.
Jersey City currently has 38 schools that serve more than 32,400 students. The plan calls for constructing 15 early childhood development centers, eight new elementary schools, six new middle schools and a new high school. It also provides for extensive renovations and additions to other schools.
"Having grown up in Jersey City and attended the public schools, I fully appreciate the need to modernize and improve the districts school facilities," Gagliardi said. "Many of the schools that were operating when I was a child are still being used today. In fact, the average age of a school in Jersey City is 75 years old and one elementary school is almost 100 years old. By building 30 new school facilities and making extensive renovations to other buildings, the children of Jersey City will enjoy the benefits of an enhanced learning environment for generations to come."
Jersey Citys long-range facilities plan is based on a projected enrollment in five years of 32,968 students. It provides for:
In the seven months since the Educational Facilities and Construction Financing Act was signed into law, the Department of Education has approved school construction plans totaling more than $6 billion for 21 Abbott school districts including Newark, Paterson, Trenton, Keansburg, Bridgeton, Harrison, Burlington City, Hoboken, Perth Amboy, Long Branch, Irvington, Plainfield, Vineland, Phillipsburg, Millville, Neptune, Orange, Pemberton, Garfield and Union City.
Under the law, the state will finance all eligible construction costs in the 30 Abbott school projects. After gaining approval of their long-range facilities plans, school districts must then submit individual plans for each school construction project to the Department of Education and the Economic Development Authority for approval.