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Senate Education Panel Approves SCC Review Commission

TRENTON – In response to recent reports on the overspending of the School Construction Corporation (SCC), Senators Shirley K. Turner and Ronald L. Rice hailed today’s approval by the Senate Education Committee of their bill establishing the School Construction Review Commission to investigate SCC spending practices.

“We need to ensure taxpayers’ dollars are getting spent wisely,” said Senator Turner D-Mercer. “The SCC has plowed through the $8.6 billion in State funding for the school facilities project far too quickly. We need to get in there and make sure the money is going into building schools and not into the hands of overpaid professionals.”

The commission, consisting of 17 members, will gather information concerning the status of implementation of each public school district’s long-range facilities plan and make sure the state funding authorized under the “Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act” is adequately spent. The commission would report its findings to the Governor.

“We need to take a look at where the money for our schools’ facilities is going in order to ensure that the State’s funding will adequately meet the needs of the public schools,” said Senator Rice, D-Essex. “The State gave $8.6 billion in funding for school facility projects and now the School Construction Corporation announced that the money will most likely be depleted in the next year before many Abbott school needs have been met. We need to investigate where the money is going.”

In addition to investigating how adequately the funding has been spent, the commission will also determine the necessity of additional funding ,offer alternative financing methods, and evaluate the work of the Office of Diversity and Emerging Business Markets and the Workforce and Preapprenticeship Training Program.

The Senate Education Committee released the bill unanimously. It now goes to the full Senate for their approval..