Christie Administration Approves More Than $507 Million in School Facilities Grants

331 Regular Operating Districts statewide
Eligible for state assistance with 1,538 projects

For Immediate Release Contact: Mike Yaple
Rich Vespucci
Date: December 4, 2013 609-292-1126

Trenton, NJ – The Christie Administration today announced the approval of $507.7 million in state funds to help fund the cost of 1,538 individual school construction projects in 331 school districts.

"New Jersey students, teachers and school administrators will benefit from this infusion of more than half a billion dollars in state funding," said Governor Christie. "These grants will allow for efficient, state-of-the-art school facilities that will help foster an improved learning environment for our children."

"We're pleased to announce this funding to districts to assist in the cost of local construction," added Department of Education (DOE) Commissioner Chris Cerf.  "This state and local partnership will go a long way in making sure that students have safe, modern facilities for learning."

"This funding builds upon the Administration's continued commitment to the future of New Jersey's schoolchildren," said School Development Authority  (SDA) Chief Executive Officer Marc Larkins. "SDA has already executed 918 regular operating grants improving 553 facilities across 240 school districts under Governor Christie's leadership alone. Continuing this effort with this state support will assist in our goal of providing students with a safe and healthy learning environment."

Between state and local contributions, the total project costs of the 1,538 eligible projects are estimated to exceed $1.1 billion. The state-funded grants represent at least 40 percent of eligible costs for projects in the Regular Operating Districts (RODs) and address health and safety issues, student overcrowding and other critical needs. The grants are contingent on local approval of the remaining cost to school districts. Regular Operating District grants are separate from the funding for the 31 "SDA districts," where the Schools Development Authority is responsible for financing 100 percent of eligible costs.

The DOE determines the selection of school projects receiving grant funds, which are administered by the Schools Development Authority (SDA). In September, the DOE received applications for more than 2,100 individual school projects.

The DOE categorizes applications into three tiers, with Level 1 being the highest priority based on critical building upgrades, roof and window repairs, code issues, ADA upgrades, security systems and hazardous material abatement.

The funding announced today addresses all Level 1 school facilities needs for all school districts in the state that submitted projects.

Statewide Summary of 2013 ROD grants

Districts 331
Projects 1,538
Total Cost of Projects $1,149,228,796
State Share $507,762,444

The statewide summary includes $21.8 million in state grants to assist 15 vocational-technical school districts with 54 construction projects for $48.2 million in total construction.

ROD grants are separate from the funding for the 31 "SDA districts," where the SDA is responsible for financing 100 percent of eligible costs.

In July 2008, the Legislature authorized an additional $3.9 billion in bonds to finance the state's share of school facilities projects. There have been three funding allocations since 2008; the most recent was the announcement of $270 million in ROD grants in July 2010.

The DOE determines which school projects receive grant funds from the  SDA. The authority's current portfolio of active projects is valued at nearly $2 billion – including the 2011 and 2012 Capital Project portfolios (more than $1 billion), additional projects in construction ($55 million), emergent projects ($100 million) and ROD grants ($500 million state share).