Christie was decisive in finding $300 million to address emergency conditions at the Statehouse. However, the very conditions the governor decried in the Statehouse exist in public schools across New Jersey. Unfortunately, his approach to addressing similar, or worse, emergency conditions in Schools Development Authority (SDA) public schools has been woefully inadequate. Under Abbott v. Burke V, the state is required to fund all capital projects fully, and improvements in the SDA districts (formerly known as Abbott districts) to make buildings safe, relieve overcrowding, and ensure educational adequacy. By law, SDA districts can not fund facility improvements over $500,000.
While it is true the Christie administration has committed significant funds to rebuild schools in Trenton, Camden and other districts, the commitments followed years of inaction and is greatly dwarfed by the need.
To not decisively address emergent conditions in SDA districts would be — as Christie says — shameful and an embarrassment to the people of the state, impacting the health and safety of the people who study, work, visit and have business in schools.
Read the full Opinion-Editorial in The Star Ledger by Jerell Blakeley, campaign organizer for the New Jersey Work Environment Council and John McEntee, President of the Paterson Education Association.
September 12, 2017