Newark Public Schools Receives $100 Million Commitment to Address City’s School Facilities

SDA Commits $100 Million to Begin Bringing Newark Public School Facilities into the 21st Century
[December 20, 2013 – Newark, New Jersey] — Newark Public Schools (NPS) announced today a $100 million commitment from the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) to begin addressing long-needed school facility issues.  The One Newark plan released this week prioritizes buildings that can – with significant investments – become 21st century learning environments.  It is estimated that NPS would need significantly more funding to address all NPS facility needs.  The $100 million commitment from the SDA represents a key first step to ensuring Newark students are attending excellent schools in buildings that are not only up to acceptable standards, but are 21st century learning environments.

Today’s announcement highlights One Newark – a community-wide agenda to ensure all students are in excellent schools and thriving communities, and are on the path to excel in college and 21st century careers.  Over the last few months, One Newark initiatives, such as the facilities investment plan to modernize NPS buildings, have brought together leaders, community advocates, educators, local clergy, and friends across public charter and district schools.  Together, we’ve made a promise to Newark families: we must embrace a bold, unified, city-wide plan to build and support 100 excellent schools and ensure equitable access for all students.

“Half the public schools in the district were built between 1851 and 1950 and have suffered from tremendous under-investment.  As part of One Newark — we need to level the playing field – it is simply unfair to have some students in beautiful facilities and others in terrible conditions,” stated Newark Public School Superintendent Cami Anderson.  “You cannot communicate high standards in a classroom with ceiling leaks and crumbling walls.  We must make significant investments and this is a step in the right direction.  We fought hard for this — with support from many advocates including the School Advisory Board — and we will keep fighting until every building gives students what they deserve.”

“Superintendent Anderson understands that a pathway to creating 100 excellent schools is through state and local partnerships,” stated New Jersey Education Commissioner Christopher Cerf.  “For the last year, the Superintendent has come to Trenton on numerous occasions to make a case for a unique investment in Newark.  While this funding is only a start in building solutions, it will go a long way in making sure that students have safe, modern facilities for learning.”

“The Newark Public Schools District has taken a huge step forward in the battle to improve school facilities,” stated Newark Board of Education Rashon K. Hasan.  “Having great educational facilities is a key ingredient to providing a quality educational experience and it’s no secret that many Newark Public School facilities are standing on their last leg. The Newark Public Schools District has accomplished something that no other school district in the state of New Jersey has been able to do.  I may not agree with all of the decisions that are made by the NPS leadership, but I applaud them for doing what so many others could not, or would not do for so many years.”

“Now more than ever the Newark Public Schools must become more attractive than any charter school within the city.  With today’s announcement Superintendent Anderson delivered on her promises to improve our dated buildings and we deeply appreciate it,” stated Gemar Mills, Principal at Malcolm X Shabazz High School.  “For many years Malcolm X Shabazz High School has needed major repairs.  It’s only right that our facilities are State of the Art like many of the recently built charter schools in Newark. By receiving 100 million dollars our families and communities will find the schools more attractive.  The funding is a testament to the Superintendent’s commitment to provide our students with facilities that are 21st Century ready.”
Foundation for Newark’s Future, Prudential Foundation, and Victoria Foundation supported the citywide facilities plan that supported this overall request to the SDA.