State confirms $14.2 million

in funding for 3 new schools

State confirms $14.2 million

in funding for 3 new schools

HOWELL — The Howell K-8 school district will receive $14.2 million in grants from the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation (SCC), Gov. James E. McGreevey announced.

"The state is committed to improving school facilities for New Jersey students in a cost-effective, streamlined and efficient manner," McGreevey said in a press release. "School building design must provide access to modern technology and provide a thoughtful environment which is conducive to student achievement."

The governor said the grant was awarded by the corporation in conjunction with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the state Department of Education. The funding will help to provide for the construction of two new elementary schools and one new middle school.

"The grant will ensure a quality educational facility for Howell students and provide direct property tax relief for local taxpayers," McGreevey said.

The projects will include the cost of land acquisition and construction for a new 69,200-square-foot and 69,850-square-foot elementary school, as well as a 129,494-square-foot middle school.

One of the new elementary schools is being built in the southern section of the community, while the second elementary school and the middle school are being built on a tract in the northern part of the community off Route 524.

According to the press release, the Howell School District was also awarded some $67,108 in grants this past March for renovations and improvements to the Aldrich School and the Ardena School. To date, the district has received approximately $14.3 million in SCC grants.

"School construction projects like this are essential to elevating the quality of education in our schools," said Alfred T. McNeill, the SCC’s chief executive officer.

McNeill said SCC provides grants to school districts to fund the state share of school facilities projects in districts such as Howell, that receive less than 55 percent of their budgets from the Department of Education. The SCC provides the state share of eligible projects costs for school facilities as determined by the Department of Education.

The state money is part of an $8.6 billion statewide construction program. To date, the state has executed some 610 grant agreements with 227 school districts throughout the state, committing $818 million in state school construction aid for projects with total costs of $2.4 billion, according to the press release.

"This project provides yet another example of the progress made in the implementation of the historic school construction initiative," McGreevey said.

"Students must be able to attend school in safe and modern facilities that are properly equipped to deliver a 21st century education," said state Commissioner of Education William L. Librera. "Our school construction program accelerates our ability to create unprecedented opportunities to upgrade or replace facilities that are no longer adequate."