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Town Officials answer this, where is the town getting the money for the new school?

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/b...9280.xml&coll=1

State officials spent at least $178 million on architects, land purchases and other preliminary expenses for scores of proposed school projects that ended up on the shelf this week when a $6 billion school program ran out of money.

That spending, listed in Schools Construction Corp. documents, includes the $10.4 million to buy up a Newark neighborhood for a high school that's now on indefinite hold. It also includes $19 million to lay the groundwork for new high schools that had been planned for Harrison and Phillipsburg until the money ran out.

The money sunk into more than 100 now-suspended projects is one symptom of what officials acknowledge was mismanagement and poor planning that severely crippled the state's effort to rebuild and replace crumbling schools in its neediest communities.

"We were trying to get as much positively accomplished as we could with this pool," said SCC spokesman Dominic DeMarco. "We're going to try to finish these projects off with the next pool of money."

Set up three years ago to manage the court-ordered overhaul, the corporation is on track to complete just 70 new schools and make major renovations to 62 more with the $6 billion it was allotted by the Legislature.

So far the SCC has spent a total of $4.3 billion, with barely half that going to construction expenses. The balance has gone to professional fees, land acquisition and overhead -- costs that a state inspector general's report in April characterized as excessive and wasteful.

With its costs soaring, the corporation announced Wednesday it could afford to proceed with only 59 of 266 pending projects.

While politicians began debating how -- or whether -- to replenish the building fund, local school officials are left to pick up the pieces of grand plans cut short.

In Newark, for example, state and local officials had drawn up what they thought was an efficient solution to overcrowding in schools on the edge of the city's North Ward. A pair of new schools, Benjamin Franklin and Gladys Hillman-Jones, would educate children from the time they started kindergarten until they reached eighth grade.

The parking lots and recreation facilities would be located between the schools, but they were all tied to the Franklin project.

When the SCC issued on Wednesday its list of projects that would go forward, Gladys Hillman-Jones was on it; Franklin was not.

"We told them from day one that these projects needed to move forward together," said Ray Lindgren, assistant to Newark Superintendent Marion Bolden. "Now what are we supposed to do?"

The SCC had spent $527,000 designing a new school to replace Franklin Elementary School, where parents of students contend that broken toilets, leaks and cramped classrooms have gone unrepaired.

The cost overruns, aborted projects and inconsistent decisions will shadow the SCC as it seeks to persuade legislators to renew its funding and keep the building program going.

Some of the lawmakers speaking out yesterday made it clear the debate won't be pleasant.

"I can't see how any legislator can vote to approve one more dime, regardless of how legitimate the needs are, before first cleaning up the SCC to make sure the abuses don't continue," said Assemblyman Joseph Malone (R-Burlington). "This is an abomination."

Supporters of the program noted pointedly yesterday that the state Supreme Court ordered new schools for the poorest districts in 1998, and said the state is obliged to follow through. But acting Gov. Richard J. Codey stuck to his Wednesday pronouncement that the funding debate would be left to the next governor and Legislature.

U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said the shortfall in projects was "tragic" and that getting a more-efficient program rolling would be a top priority if he were elected. But he did not call for any replenishment of funds in the meantime.

His opponent, Republican Doug Forrester, has been a dogged critic of the SCC and said that, if elected, he would disband the agency.

Some, however, voiced concern that if new planning and land acquisition grinds to a halt, the state could wind up paying even more money down the road.

Sen. Ron Rice (D-Essex) said he would press for a vote in September on a bill he introduced that would provide the SCC with $2 billion more for the state's 31 "special-needs" school districts and $1 billion for other districts, to keep the program running another year.

"We have to make sure we tighten up management and get accountability, but there is a court mandate and a great deal of urgency to move forward," Rice said. "If we wait too long, the costs will be driven up."

David Sciarra of the Education Law Center in Newark, which championed the poor districts' cause before the state Supreme Court, agreed that a reauthorization of funds must be a priority.

The challenge for the Legislature is to get beyond the narrow view," Sciarra said. "We need to learn from our experience and correct the operation of the program to instill public confidence. But at the end of the day, we're going to have to come up with more resources for the program."

Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon) said that won't be easy in a state that now ranks third in the nation in borrowing.

"I voted against the original $8.6 billion program because we didn't go to the people for a vote," he said. "In my view, we shouldn't renew without voter approval. We should be very cautious in that regard."

And not every district was screaming for help. In Union City, where three projects were finished or under way and two more were approved Wednesday, officials were philosophical, even with several projects left in limbo.

"Sure, we got whittled down in this round, but, you know, we got some really good stuff," said Anthony Dragona, the district's business administrator. "If we get additional funding, that would be wonderful. But if not, we're still better off than we were two years ago."

In other communities, however, there was deep concern about the stalling program.

Irene Sterling, executive director of the Paterson Education Fund, said a demographic bubble and reduced dropout rate were expected to add 1,500 high school students to the district next year. A new high school is being built, but it wouldn't come close to alleviating the problem.

"The consensus is more kids will drop out," she said, "'because the more overcrowding, the less support they get. That means the state eventually spends more money on crime and additional social services. They need to fix this now."

The SCC has come under intense scrutiny since a Star-Ledger analysis in February showed that the first six schools built by the corporation cost an average 45 percent more apiece than 19 schools built at the same time without SCC involvement.

The latest SCC records show its completed projects now include nine new schools, which were projected to cost a total of $163 million but so far have cost $192 million.

Of the $4.3 billion spent by the corporation to date, architects' fees alone have accounted for $455 million. Another group of consultants, the state's 13 Project Management Firms, have collected $386 million, the corporation's auditor reported earlier this month.

Since the inspector general concluded the SCC was plagued by inefficiencies and lax controls over spending, the corporation has adopted a series of refoms. It installed a new chairman, hired a chief financial officer, scaled back on professional fees, tightened controls on land acquisition and cost overruns, and adopted a policy of using standardized architectural designs in multiple projects.

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Guest Guest

I read the star ledger today and it stated that the state had cut the aid to build the new High School. WOW I guess the democrats and all the kiss as&es in this town could not persuade Gov. Cody. Well I guess we will have to live with that eyesore on hamilton st until the funding comes through. We all know that Harrison does not have the money to fund that project on their own. It will be done in the summer of 2020. And what about the sports fields? does that mean they will not be built either?.

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All I gotta say is good thing Millan stopped these idiots from trying to buy 30+ homes, just to board them up and do nothing with them. I wonder who was on the Mayors $hit list

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Guest Town Resident
I read the star ledger today and it stated that the state had cut the aid to build the new High School.  WOW I guess the democrats and all the kiss as&es in this town could not persuade  Gov. Cody.  Well I guess we will have to live with that eyesore on hamilton st until the funding comes through.  We all know that Harrison does not have the money to fund that project on their own.  It will be done in the summer of 2020.  And what about the sports fields? does that mean they will not be built either?.

The article didn't say that, Moron. Read it again, or better yet, get a 5th grader to read it to you.

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I personally blame the Mayor. He would have taken all the kudos if it went as expected. It was soured with corruption from the start. And He wanted to rip down people's houses to drum up business for the SCC. He and Lawyer Bob better start running for cover.

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I read the star ledger today and it stated that the state had cut the aid to build the new High School.  WOW I guess the democrats and all the kiss as&es in this town could not persuade  Gov. Cody.  Well I guess we will have to live with that eyesore on hamilton st until the funding comes through.  We all know that Harrison does not have the money to fund that project on their own.  It will be done in the summer of 2020.  And what about the sports fields? does that mean they will not be built either?.

check out saturdays jersey journal Harrisons new high school is not affected nor the field but the rehab to other buildings will be on hold

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Town Officials answer this, where is the town getting the money for the new school? 

http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/b...9280.xml&coll=1

State officials spent at least $178 million on architects, land purchases and other preliminary expenses for scores of proposed school projects that ended up on the shelf this week when a $6 billion school program ran out of money.

That spending, listed in Schools Construction Corp. documents, includes the $10.4 million to buy up a Newark neighborhood for a high school that's now on indefinite hold. It also includes $19 million to lay the groundwork for new high schools that had been planned for Harrison and Phillipsburg until the money ran out.

The money sunk into more than 100 now-suspended projects is one symptom of what officials acknowledge was mismanagement and poor planning that severely crippled the state's effort to rebuild and replace crumbling schools in its neediest communities.

"We were trying to get as much positively accomplished as we could with this pool," said SCC spokesman Dominic DeMarco. "We're going to try to finish these projects off with the next pool of money."

Set up three years ago to manage the court-ordered overhaul, the corporation is on track to complete just 70 new schools and make major renovations to 62 more with the $6 billion it was allotted by the Legislature.

So far the SCC has spent a total of $4.3 billion, with barely half that going to construction expenses. The balance has gone to professional fees, land acquisition and overhead -- costs that a state inspector general's report in April characterized as excessive and wasteful.

With its costs soaring, the corporation announced Wednesday it could afford to proceed with only 59 of 266 pending projects.

While politicians began debating how -- or whether -- to replenish the building fund, local school officials are left to pick up the pieces of grand plans cut short.

In Newark, for example, state and local officials had drawn up what they thought was an efficient solution to overcrowding in schools on the edge of the city's North Ward. A pair of new schools, Benjamin Franklin and Gladys Hillman-Jones, would educate children from the time they started kindergarten until they reached eighth grade.

The parking lots and recreation facilities would be located between the schools, but they were all tied to the Franklin project.

When the SCC issued on Wednesday its list of projects that would go forward, Gladys Hillman-Jones was on it; Franklin was not.

"We told them from day one that these projects needed to move forward together," said Ray Lindgren, assistant to Newark Superintendent Marion Bolden. "Now what are we supposed to do?"

The SCC had spent $527,000 designing a new school to replace Franklin Elementary School, where parents of students contend that broken toilets, leaks and cramped classrooms have gone unrepaired.

The cost overruns, aborted projects and inconsistent decisions will shadow the SCC as it seeks to persuade legislators to renew its funding and keep the building program going.

Some of the lawmakers speaking out yesterday made it clear the debate won't be pleasant.

"I can't see how any legislator can vote to approve one more dime, regardless of how legitimate the needs are, before first cleaning up the SCC to make sure the abuses don't continue," said Assemblyman Joseph Malone (R-Burlington). "This is an abomination."

Supporters of the program noted pointedly yesterday that the state Supreme Court ordered new schools for the poorest districts in 1998, and said the state is obliged to follow through. But acting Gov. Richard J. Codey stuck to his Wednesday pronouncement that the funding debate would be left to the next governor and Legislature.

U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, said the shortfall in projects was "tragic" and that getting a more-efficient program rolling would be a top priority if he were elected. But he did not call for any replenishment of funds in the meantime.

His opponent, Republican Doug Forrester, has been a dogged critic of the SCC and said that, if elected, he would disband the agency.

Some, however, voiced concern that if new planning and land acquisition grinds to a halt, the state could wind up paying even more money down the road.

Sen. Ron Rice (D-Essex) said he would press for a vote in September on a bill he introduced that would provide the SCC with $2 billion more for the state's 31 "special-needs" school districts and $1 billion for other districts, to keep the program running another year.

"We have to make sure we tighten up management and get accountability, but there is a court mandate and a great deal of urgency to move forward," Rice said. "If we wait too long, the costs will be driven up."

David Sciarra of the Education Law Center in Newark, which championed the poor districts' cause before the state Supreme Court, agreed that a reauthorization of funds must be a priority.

The challenge for the Legislature is to get beyond the narrow view," Sciarra said. "We need to learn from our experience and correct the operation of the program to instill public confidence. But at the end of the day, we're going to have to come up with more resources for the program."

Sen. Leonard Lance (R-Hunterdon) said that won't be easy in a state that now ranks third in the nation in borrowing.

"I voted against the original $8.6 billion program because we didn't go to the people for a vote," he said. "In my view, we shouldn't renew without voter approval. We should be very cautious in that regard."

And not every district was screaming for help. In Union City, where three projects were finished or under way and two more were approved Wednesday, officials were philosophical, even with several projects left in limbo.

"Sure, we got whittled down in this round, but, you know, we got some really good stuff," said Anthony Dragona, the district's business administrator. "If we get additional funding, that would be wonderful. But if not, we're still better off than we were two years ago."

In other communities, however, there was deep concern about the stalling program.

Irene Sterling, executive director of the Paterson Education Fund, said a demographic bubble and reduced dropout rate were expected to add 1,500 high school students to the district next year. A new high school is being built, but it wouldn't come close to alleviating the problem.

"The consensus is more kids will drop out," she said, "'because the more overcrowding, the less support they get. That means the state eventually spends more money on crime and additional social services. They need to fix this now."

The SCC has come under intense scrutiny since a Star-Ledger analysis in February showed that the first six schools built by the corporation cost an average 45 percent more apiece than 19 schools built at the same time without SCC involvement.

The latest SCC records show its completed projects now include nine new schools, which were projected to cost a total of $163 million but so far have cost $192 million.

Of the $4.3 billion spent by the corporation to date, architects' fees alone have accounted for $455 million. Another group of consultants, the state's 13 Project Management Firms, have collected $386 million, the corporation's auditor reported earlier this month.

Since the inspector general concluded the SCC was plagued by inefficiencies and lax controls over spending, the corporation has adopted a series of refoms. It installed a new chairman, hired a chief financial officer, scaled back on professional fees, tightened controls on land acquisition and cost overruns, and adopted a policy of using standardized architectural designs in multiple projects.

59 projects are to be completed. Harrison High School is one of them. Relax.

http://www.njscc.com/Archive/2005/07/07.27.05/TableC.pdf

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Guest Disgrace

I think it is a disgrace how the children of Harrison no not have a field to play their activities on. The person in charge of selling the stadium before the new one was built should be out of a job. That was probably the worst decision made

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I think it is a disgrace how the children of Harrison no not have a field to play their activities on.  The person in charge of selling the stadium before the new one was built should be out of a job.  That was probably the worst decision made

:lol: (NOT PROBABLY)

IT WAS "BY FAR" THE WORST DECISION MADE.....THIS IS SO SAD FOR ALL THE SENIOR ATHLETES WHO DO NOT HAVE A HOME FIELD TO PLAY ON IN THEIR LAST

SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!

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Guest Town Resident
I think it is a disgrace how the children of Harrison no not have a field to play their activities on.  The person in charge of selling the stadium before the new one was built should be out of a job.  That was probably the worst decision made

Worst Decision ? How about the decision to build thousands of new housing units in a town with severly overcrowded schools ?? That decision boggles my mind. This town is in for some hard times down the road. We're going to need new schools to handle this flood of kids into the school system. AND, we have neither the land or the money to build ANY new schools. OR--- How about the decision to stick a new house on every sub-standard lot in town ? OR--- How about the decision to not set aside any land in this redevelopment for recreation ?? Thousands of new homes going in and the kids in Harrison don't even have a place to throw a baseball or kick a soccer ball. Take your pick of worst decisions !!

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Guest Heywood Yablome
59 projects are to be completed. Harrison High School is one of them. Relax.

http://www.njscc.com/Archive/2005/07/07.27.05/TableC.pdf

The towns getting $1,000,000 dollars to put the high school stadium, "HARRISON HS (athletic field), and they call it"rehab of Existing Facility" thats it. They couldn't leave the town without a stadium, but the State would have never ok'ed a Developer to knock down JFK if they knew they were going to have to build a new stadium..... No new High School. Where did you learn to read???? BESIDES DO YOU THINK IT COST MORE THEN A MILLION TO CLEAN THAT PROPERTY?????

WHO'S PAYING THAT????

TAX PAYERS, NOT THE DEVELOPERS......

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Guest Guest

maybe the metrostars stadium will be built before the high school field. Cant wait for the 1:00 pm press conference at the library park. cant wait to see all the scumbag politicians.

The towns getting $1,000,000 dollars to put the high school stadium, "HARRISON HS (athletic field), and they call it"rehab of Existing Facility" thats it. They couldn't leave the town without a stadium, but the State would have never ok'ed a Developer to knock down JFK if they knew they were going to have to build a new stadium..... No new High School.  Where did you learn to read???? BESIDES DO YOU THINK IT COST MORE THEN A MILLION TO CLEAN THAT PROPERTY????? 

WHO'S PAYING THAT????

TAX PAYERS, NOT THE DEVELOPERS......

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Guest Hey Seniors
(NOT PROBABLY)

IT WAS "BY FAR" THE WORST DECISION MADE.....THIS IS SO SAD FOR ALL THE SENIOR ATHLETES WHO DO NOT HAVE A HOME FIELD TO PLAY ON IN THEIR LAST

SEASON!!!!!!!!!!!

Most of you are 18 now. Take advantage of one of the MOST valuable rights, as American citizens. VOTE. Iraq had a dream to Vote, many risked their lives to Vote. YOUR UPSET WITH WHAT THEY DID TO YOU, 2006 REGISTER & VOTE. VOLUNTEER & HELP A NEW MAYOR, A NEW SLATE!!
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