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Rice Measure To Allow Bonding For School Construction Becomes Law

Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee Chair, Senator Ronald L. Rice, D-Essex, speaks at a meeting of his committee.

NEWARK – Legislation sponsored by Senator Ronald L. Rice to provide the $3.9 billion in bonding to fund school districts, which he says are “in desperate need of new construction and renovations,” became law today.

“I am extremely happy to see that the children in need will finally be able to receive the school projects that they were promised years ago,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “The State Supreme Court has made it clear that children in Abbott school districts must have their educational needs met. I am pleased that my colleagues in the Legislature as well as the Governor recognized the importance of providing safe schools for our children, and supported this measure.”

The enacted bill, S-1457, allocates $2.9 billion of the new bonds to the Abbott districts, and $1 billion to non-Abbott districts. Of that $1 billion for the non-Abbotts, $50 million will be reserved for vocational schools. The bill also provides that the increase in the bond amount would be repaid from the State income tax.

“I hope that we can begin work on these school construction projects immediately so that we can provide our children with the educational opportunities they deserve,” said Senator Rice.

According to Senator Rice, under the bill audits of projects that exceed $10 million would be required in order to prevent wasteful spending.

Senator Rice noted that his Legislative district has two projects planned. West Side school in Newark was approved for renovations and an addition to be built, and Madison Avenue Elementary, in Irvington will have a new school building. ###

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