TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner and Ronald L. Rice which would establish the “School Construction Review Commission” to investigate the spending practices of the School Construction Corporation (SCC), was approved by the full Senate today.
“We need to root out and eliminate waste and fraud in every State department and agency,” said Senator Turner, D- Mercer and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. “The SCC tells us that they are running out money far before fulfilling their school construction mandate – we need to know what went wrong. When the people of New Jersey’s pay $8.6 billion for new schools, they should expect to get their money’s worth.”
The bill, S-2163, would create a 19 member commission to study over one year the status of each public school district’s long-range facilities plan. The commission would also make sure that the State funds authorized under the “Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act” are appropriately spent.
According to Senator Turner, the commission would also look into alternatives to help finance school facility construction projects.
“We need to review the practices of SCC in order to ensure that our children are not forced to learn in inadequate facilities, ” said Rice, Chairman of the Joint Commission on the Public “Currently the SCC is the subject of two separate inquiries, and we need to know why.”
“I am deeply concerned that it will be the Abbot schools who will be hurt the most if the SCC runs out of money,” added Senator Rice. “The State Supreme Court mandated that $6 billion be spent for construction project in the Abbots, but the SCC announced that the funding would most likely be depleted by January of next year.”
The bill was approved by the full Assembly on January 24, and now heads to the Governor’s office for enactment.