Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) on Thursday called on Governor Christie to turn his attention to the utter state of disrepair at Trenton Central High School (TCHS) and put an end to the continual feet-dragging by the Schools Development Authority (SDA), which has left the safety of students in jeopardy.
In doing so, Gusciora called on Christie to come tour the capital city’s high school to see, firsthand, the crumbling infrastructure that has compromised the learning environment.
“This is our state capital, a city that represents a defining moment in our nation’s history. It’s inexcusable and embarrassing that one of its high schools would be allowed to fall into such a state of disrepair. Not only are the conditions unsafe for students, but they affect the overall morale at the school, which in turn affects the learning environment and students’ desire to show up for class each day.
“I have been meeting with SDA officials for years now and have witnessed nothing but broken promises and backtracking. Enough is enough. I’m now asking Gov. Christie to come out and tour the high school firsthand to see the deplorable conditions students and teachers must deal with. I think it’s safe to say he would never want to send his children there and I don’t think Trenton parents should have to either,” said Gusciora.
Gusciora and his 15th legislative district colleagues have been fighting for nearly 10 years for state funding to replace the antiquated school. Early last year they were given hope when the SDA announced that Trenton was slated for funding to build an entirely new high school. Since that time the decision has been scaled back to provide funding just for major renovations and later only funding to cover patchwork repairs.
When Gusciora met with the SDA and CEO Marc Larkins, as well as state Department of Education officials, in January, he left with the understanding that the state would begin to make emergent repairs to Trenton Central High School this summer. However, at TCHS’s recent graduation Gusciora was told by school officials that the state would only commit to “architectural drawings.”
“It’s now July 25 and they have yet to even follow up on that meager commitment and I’m told that the SDA has done little. I don’t understand how this administration can sit on over $300 million in school construction funding at the expense of urban school children. I also can’t believe that anyone could tour Trenton Central High School, like Mr. Larkins did, and not be outraged and want to make immediate renovations. The intransigence and indifference under this administration needs to be rectified. Either the Governor must come out and tour the school firsthand to witness these conditions and help direct the SDA to act or Mr. Larkins should resign over this dereliction of duty,” added Gusciora.
Gusciora has toured the school numerous times to check on conditions and relay concerns to state officials. Among the many conditions he encountered were fallen plaster from portions of the ceiling in culinary classrooms and large portions of the roof in utter disrepair; a basement cafeteria lacking a ventilation system because installation of proper duct work would expose asbestos; damp carpets; the presence of mold; and a wall alarmingly referred to as the “waterfall wall” when it rains due to pervasive leaks, just to mention a few.
During his most recent tour last month, Gusciora took the following pictures: https://vine.co/v/hmXzXFb7ZWh