(TRENTON) – Assembly Education Chairman Patrick J. Diegnan Jr. (D-Middlesex) released the following statement Wednesday on Schools Development Authority Chief Executive Officer Marc Larkins’ refusal to appear before the committee to explain his agency’s continued inactivity:
“The dismissive nature of Mr. Larkins’ rejection of the invitation to appear before the committee tells legions about this administration’s approach towards needed school construction.
“His statement that the review of the 2008 priority school construction list is ‘near completion’ and is expected to be reviewed in ‘the near future’ is a slap in the face to every child forced to attend school in an unsafe and dilapidated building.
“He ends his letter with the comment that he will reschedule ‘a convenient time to appear before the committee.’ The students of Phillipsburg who have been attending class in deteriorating trailers for more than a decade can give the director a tutorial on inconvenience when it comes to school construction in New Jersey.
“In the 13 months since Gov. Christie took the oath of office, $50 million in taxpayer dollars has been spent by this agency on administrative costs, while doing absolutely nothing.
“This is more than an outrage. It is an insult to every parent, child and taxpayer in our state.
“If Mr. Larkins continues to fail to do the job, he should be replaced.”