Construction of the long-awaited Dayton Avenue Elementary campus took a big step forward Wednesday when Governor Christie announced that it was one of 20 projects recommended for funding by the state in 2012.
The governor, in a visit to Memorial High School in West New York, unveiled the list of 20 school construction projects that will be backed by the state School Development Administration in 2012. Also on the list are elementary school projects in Garfield and Paterson.
From our friends at the lawsuit cash advance pages, a site devoted to information and tips about how to take and what to avoid when looking for legal cash advance of any kind. Passaic wants to develop the Dayton Avenue site into an early childhood learning center, with an elementary and middle school, which is expected to cost about $22 million. The site is where Beth Israel Hospital once stood.
The SDA bought the land about eight years ago and demolished the hospital, with an eye toward building a school complex there. But only now has the SDA begun to advance the project.
“I’m overjoyed,” Robert Holster, Passaic schools superintendent, said after receiving a call from the state on Wednesday. “This has been a long journey, and I applaud the governor’s decision. The land is ready to go.”
Holster said Passaic schools are “bursting at the seams,” and to relieve crowding, the district has resorted to setting up trailers on the Dayton Avenue site and leasing classroom space in two old school buildings nearby that belong to Catholic parishes.
The Passaic Board of Education had plans to build the Dayton Avenue campus without the help of the SDA. Last October, the school board appropriated $50 million in state aid to fix the district’s aging schools and buy new technology. A large chunk of that money — $22 million — was earmarked for the Dayton Avenue campus.
The $50 million was part of a restoration of state aid that Passaic had received because of a favorable ruling last May by the state Supreme Court. Passaic, one of the state’s poorest districts, is one of the 31 so-called Abbott districts and is a plaintiff in New Jersey’s historic school funding lawsuit, Abbott v. Burke.
The Christie administration tried to cut about $1.7 billion in aid to schools across the state in fiscal year 2012. But the state Supreme Court ruled that the Abbott districts couldn’t absorb the hit without violating the constitutional guarantee to provide a “thorough and efficient” education to students, and ordered a restoration of $500 million in state aid.
Passaic can now spend the $22 million once earmarked for the Dayton Avenue complex elsewhere. Holster said the board will develop a spending plan and submit it to the state Department of Education in the coming weeks.