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Rice And Ruiz Support School Construction Bond

Senator M. Theresa Ruiz listens to testimony during the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee hearing.

NEWARK – Senators Ronald L. Rice and Teresa Ruiz are pleased with the proposed legislation to allow for $2.5 billion in bonding for school construction programs.

“For a long time now, I have been concerned that worthy school construction projects were being put on hold because of problems at the School Construction Corporation (SCC),” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “I have always fought for proper funding of the poorest school districts. Although the SCC has mismanaged its funds, the State still must fulfill its obligation to meet the educational needs of our residents, and with that comes the need for adequate school facilities.”

The bill, A-2873, was recently introduced by Assemblyman Albert Coutinho and Assemblywoman Grace L. Spencer. The measure would increase the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s bonding limit by $2.5 billion for the State share of School Development Authority district school facilities projects. The bill would also require that debt service for these bonds be paid from revenues received from the gross income tax.

Both Senators joined Governor Corzine and the bill sponsors Wednesday at the Oliver Street School in Newark. The group was there to see the dilapidated condition of the school.

“It’s important that we get pending school construction projects back on track quickly so that we can provide our children with the educational opportunities they deserve,” said Senator Ruiz, D-Essex and Union. “I understand that we are in tough economic times, but we need to recognize the responsibility we have to provide a safe learning environment for the children in this State. This legislation is a great start, but more will need to be done to ensure that we are able to complete the planned school construction projects. ###