Assemblyman Calls Out SDA for Feet Dragging as Trenton Students Prepare to Return to Crumbling Infrastructure
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer/Hunterdon) on Tuesday characterized the NJ Schools Development Authority’s (SDA) attitude towards Trenton Central High School as a “too little, too late” approach that, to date, has been summed up by empty promises and little action.
The Assemblyman’s words came in response to the SDA’s announcement today that it has awarded a contract for “pre-design services to address the serious facility deficiencies at Trenton Central High School.”
“After fighting for funding to replace this school, we are now being told that a consultant will finally begin to analyze the issues plaguing Trenton Central and at some point in the to-be-determined future the work will advance to the design phase. While this work must be done, my fear is that this is just more of the same pattern of feet-dragging and empty promises that we have been met with left and right by the SDA.
“Seven months after we asked them for a timeline to address these conditions, we are just now being presented with a vague outline. And we’re hearing through second hand reports that this ‘pre-design’ analysis will take seven months and construction to address these issues will not begin for another two years. That is unacceptable.
“Meanwhile school will be starting again in just over a month and ninth graders will be going to science class in trailers as the entire student body contends with a crumbling infrastructure and wholly unsafe learning conditions.
“Considering the Christie administration prides itself on ‘straight talking’ I’m surprised they would even allow the Governor’s name to go on this announcement considering how much backpedaling has gone on with this issue,” said Gusciora.
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.”
“I have been meeting with SDA officials for years now and have witnessed nothing but broken promises and backtracking. While we’re eager to see these conditions addressed once and for all, I have little faith that this announcement today means we’ll see them anytime soon. For the sake of the students at Trenton Central, I hope I’m wrong and that the SDA will finally realize the need to expedite these repairs.” said 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.
Gusciora once again reiterated the call he made last week for Gov. Christie to tour the school himself so he can see firsthand the utter state of disrepair at Trenton Central High School and hopefully put an end to the SDA’s feet dragging.