State of New Jersey
Executive Order #24

Governor James E. McGreevey

WHEREAS, the Legislature in July 2000 enacted the "Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act," P.L.2000, c.72 ("the Act") to address the inadequacies in the quality, utility and safety of educational facilities throughout the State of New Jersey and to meet the constitutional requirement for a thorough and efficient system of free public schools; and

WHEREAS, the Act commits significant State and local resources to address the compelling, urgent need to construct new school facilities and rehabilitate existing school facilities; and

WHEREAS, the Act provides that the New Jersey Economic Development Authority ("NJEDA") is responsible for funding and undertaking the repair, renovation and construction of all the school facilities projects determined by the Commissioner of the Department of Education ("DOE") to meet the school facilities efficiency standards in the Abbott Districts and for undertaking construction of school facilities projects in the districts receiving over 55% in State aid for education and the "Level II" monitoring districts; and

WHEREAS, the Act also provides for State funding of a significant portion of the costs of school facilities projects in the districts receiving less than 55% State aid for education through grants administered by the NJEDA; and

WHEREAS, in the two years since adoption of the Act, the NJEDA has made progress in implementing the school construction program, through development of an infrastructure, policies, procedures and regulations, and the hiring of the staff and consultants required to implement a program of this complexity and magnitude; and

WHEREAS, many projects have already been undertaken and completed throughout the State largely in the nature of repair of "health and safety conditions" but most new construction, renovation and addition projects remain to be done; and

WHEREAS, the State now enjoys a unique and timely opportunity to design and construct schools for the 21st century which will be adequate to serve the needs of children for years to come, will incorporate long life cycles and reduce operating costs; and

WHEREAS, the primary purpose of these new and renovated school facilities is to serve as places of learning for children, and as such should incorporate "high performance" design features that accommodate and enhance the learning process; and

WHEREAS, the Legislature provided in Section 2(d) of the Act that "design of school facilities should incorporate maximum operating efficiencies and new technologies to advance the energy efficiency of school facilities and the efficiency of other school building systems;" and

WHEREAS, school facilities are public buildings, and should be designed in a manner to provide maximum access and benefit to the residents of the communities where they are situated, in order to serve as centers of community; and

WHEREAS, schools that are true centers of community must be sited and designed with the participation of the members of the community to be served by the school facility; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of the people of New Jersey that school facilities developed under the Act shall be modern facilities of the 21st century, combining all of these features: the best possible learning environment, the most energy-efficient design, the most environmentally sustainable systems, and the highest community-relevance; and

WHEREAS, in February 2002 pursuant to Executive Order the Abbott Implementation and Compliance Coordinating Council was created to coordinate and direct State policy regarding education reform implementation and school facility construction in the Abbott districts; and

WHEREAS, the Abbott Implementation Council formed a facilities working group that included representation from school districts, community organizations, and the architectural and construction community to recommend improvements to the School Construction Program; and

WHEREAS, in order to accomplish the purposes of the Act, to begin implementation of the recommendations of the Abbott Facilities Work Group, and to ensure that schools are equipped for the 21st century, it is necessary now to focus, streamline and coordinate the activities of various State agencies involved in this monumental and most important effort;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JAMES E. MCGREEVEY, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT:

  1. In order to establish the school construction program as a separate activity of the NJEDA apart from its economic development mission and to provide for more focused attention, the NJEDA shall establish a subsidiary corporation, which will be responsible for the school facilities project. This shall include:

    1. The creation of a corporation Board of Directors consisting of the following members: the Commissioner of Education; Commissioner of Labor; Commissioner of Community Affairs; State Treasurer; CEO/Secretary of Commerce and Economic Growth Commission; Executive Director of EDA; Member of the Governor's Executive Staff; Three public members of the EDA Board of Directors selected by the Governor; and two members of the public to be appointed by the Governor.

    2. The Schools Corporation will be headed by a CEO to oversee the program, which individual will have experience in construction management commensurate with the task of overseeing a multi-billion dollar, long-term program.

  2. The NJEDA and all school districts developing school facilities projects to be funded under the Act should attempt to incorporate community design features to maximize public access to the building and enhance the utility of the building to the needs of the community.

  3. The NJEDA and all school districts developing school facilities projects to be funded under the Act are strongly encouraged to provide opportunity for the community at large to have meaningful participation in the site selection process for the school facilities projects, and in the design of school facilities.

  4. All new school designs shall incorporate the guidelines developed by the United States Green Building Council known as "Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design ("LEED"), Version 2.0 to achieve maximum energy efficiency and environmental sustainability in the design of schools.

  5. The DOE shall not approve any school facilities project for funding under the Act and the NJEDA shall not construct any project unless the project is designed using best design practices to create space that enhances the learning process and accommodates modern teaching techniques.

  6. In order to improve the delivery of early childhood services, the Commissioner of DOE should adopt regulations, which will establish facilities efficiency standards for early childhood education facilities and criteria for the use by districts of community providers.

  7. The NJEDA should undertake actions to ensure that there is an adequate pool of qualified contractors and consultants to carry out the school facilities projects funded under the Act. The NJEDA should explore with other agencies, including the Department of Treasury, the feasibility of consolidating and integrating the current multiple systems for the classification and pre-qualification of consultants and contractors.

  8. To facilitate and expedite the completion of school facilities projects, the NJEDA is hereby directed to take the following actions:

    1. Streamline the procurement process and make it more efficient through the use of term contracts where appropriate to provide for such things, as the (i) acquisition and installation of furniture, fixtures and equipment; (ii) acquisition of items requiring long-lead times such as boilers, chillers and windows; (iii) services related to land acquisition, and (iv) the ability to respond on an expedited basis to health and safety issues in school facilities.

    2. Examine and implement changes in the process for delegating school facilities projects under $500,000 back to the districts pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Act and for funding grants to the under 55% districts pursuant to Section 15 of the Act so that these projects can be completed more rapidly while still maintaining moral and fiscal integrity.

  9. The NJEDA is authorized to call upon any department, office or agency of State government to provide such information, resources or other assistance deemed necessary to discharge its responsibilities under this Order. Each department, officer, division and agency of this State is required to cooperate with the Authority and to furnish it with assistance necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order. Furthermore, the DOE is directed to establish a satellite office at the NJEDA staffed by DOE personnel involved in the review and approval of school facilities projects to better coordinate and share information with the NJEDA.

  10. This Order shall take effect immediately.


GIVEN, under my hand and seal this 29th day of July
in the Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand and Two, and of the Independence of the United States, the Two Hundred and Twenty-Seventh.

/s/ James E. McGreevey


/s/ Paul A. Levinsohn
Chief Counsel to the Governor