After weeks of silence from the Governor’s office, Assemblymen John Armato and Vince Mazzeo (both D-Atlantic) sent a second letter to the Murphy administration to call for the release of $4.6 million in funding for Stockton University’s expansion in Atlantic City.
The letter, sent on September 10, once again urges the Governor to unfreeze the funding allocated in the approved FY2020 State budget, which will be used to make various enhancements to the Atlantic City campus. The proposed “Phase Two” expansion would add a new 405-bed residential complex, which Stockton officials project will be critically needed by the 2021-22 school year; in the fall of 2018, housing occupancy was already at 98 percent.
Stockton University receives the second lowest amount of state funding per student of any senior public college of university in the state.
“We must reiterate that this funding is not a luxury for Stockton – the project’s completion is entirely dependent on securing the financial support allocated to it in the FY 2020 budget,” Armato and Mazzeo write in the letter.
The Assemblymen noted the long-lasting benefits the expanded campus would bring to Atlantic County, including greater access to quality higher education and hundreds of short-term construction jobs, as well as a minimum of 100 permanent opportunities.
“Given the state’s involvement and vested interest in the revitalization of Atlantic City, we are hard pressed to find any rationale behind the denial of these funds, particularly with a fully certified revenue and over a billion in surplus,” the Assemblymen wrote. “It seems that once again, your administration has left South Jersey with the short end of the stick.”
Armato and Mazzeo also urged the Governor to provide an action plan in regards to unfreezing Stockton University’s approved funding for this project.
“While we are disappointed in the administration’s inaction at this point, we stand ready and willing to assist you in any way possible,” the letter states.
The first letter to the Governor’s office was sent July 24.