TRENTON – Speaker Sheila Oliver wants answers regarding how the decisions were made as to which colleges were chosen to receive funding under the bond act approved last year by voters.
Oliver sent a letter to Gov. Chris Christie saying that he has refused repeated requests for information as to which projects were selected.
“It is critical that higher education facilities projects be awarded funding with complete transparency so that the voters who approved the “Building Our Future Bond Act” may be assured that the most deserving projects will receive funding,” she said in a letter.
The issue has become important because, among other things, schools with overtly religious missions made it to the list of public funding.
The bond act was the first new bonding act to build classrooms and labs at public higher-education schools in decades.
“Both the lack of transparency in the grant award process and the concerns regarding certain grant awards raise questions on the integrity of the grant award process, making it impossible for the Legislature to exercise its oversight responsibility,” Oliver said in the letter.
She said that along with Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan introduced a resolution that states the Legislature disagrees with the list of projects submitted by the Secretary of Higher Education.
Under the bond act, the entire list would be approved unless the Legislature adopts a resolution expressing its disagreement within 60 days of the transmittal of the list. ACR194 expresses that disagreement.
“Many issues concerning the validity of the Administration’s specific awards in the approved project lists have come to my attention,” Oliver wrote. “Concerns about the process by which the ‘review committee’ made the selections have also been raised.”
Oliver’s letter is attached.