For immediate release – November 19, 2021

Contact: Heather Sorge, [email protected], (908) 310-7874


Statement from Healthy Schools Now on Gov. Murphy’s Budget Announcement

$75 million for schools is a good start;

Billions needed to create safe schools

for 1.2 million+ NJ students

The following statement on today’s announcement from Gov. Phil Murphy about funding for New Jersey Schools is from Heather Sorge, Healthy Schools Now organizer with the New Jersey Work Environment Council (NJWEC).

“We’re pleased to see that Governor Murphy has identified $75 million in previously appropriated funds that can be used for badly-needed renovations and improvements in New Jersey’s public school buildings.

“This is just a small down payment, however, on the billions needed to create safe learning environments in both School Development Authority (SDA) districts and Regular Operating Districts (RODs). For example, the State estimates the cost to fund the next round of major projects in just the SDA districts is close to $2 billion.

“For too long, students, teachers and staff in many SDA buildings have been exposed daily to mold, mildew, asbestos, lead and vermin. Lack of indoor air quality is an issue and there is a pressing need to update HVAC systems to reduce exposure to deadly viruses like COVID-19.

“This is a start and Healthy Schools Now will continue to advocate for more than 1.2 million students and more than 130,000 teachers and school staff to work and learn in a school environment that is healthy and free of hazards. To achieve this, we need Governor Murphy and the legislature to identify the funding needed to make New Jersey’s public schools as safe as possible, regardless of zip code.”

Healthy Schools Now is a coalition of more than 80 organizations representing a diverse set of stakeholders including public school advocates, parents, social justice, faith leaders and environmentalists dedicated to ensuring all New Jersey children and school employees learn and work in safe, healthy, modernized school buildings