Coalition: Accelerate schools projects

TRENTON – A coalition of groups calling for speeding up school construction projects made its point again at the Joint Committee of Public Schools hearing on Tuesday.

Mo Kinberg of the New Jersey Work Environment Council mentioned some of the problems they heard about recently. They include brick siding that fell off of the Newark Vocational School during Superstorm Sandy, moisture and rusted stairwells at a Camden school, and broken windows and leaking roofs at Trenton High School.

“We’ve heard stories of water coming through the walls of classrooms, falling bricks, piecemeal projects and endless site visits. People are frustrated,” she said.

She also cited the sluggish pace in addressing “emergent repairs.”

Kinberg made some suggestions, such as using $3.9 billion in facility bonds to repair schools and build new ones, having more firm timelines, better communication between school districts and communities, and putting in place an established appeals process.

At the hearing, SDA CEO Mark Larkins said they had met with Trenton High School officials about a repair plan, but school officials wanted a larger-scope project. Designs for that larger-scale project should be completed this year, he said.

Some of the coalition members include N.J. Education Association, American Federation of Teachers, N.J. Environmental Federation, and Ironbound Community Corp.


Coalition: Accelerate schools projects