LEGISLATORS PRESSURE SDA FOR HIGH SCHOOL FUNDING

15th District legislators committed to the proper maintenance of Trenton school

(TRENTON) — Legislators of the 15th District reaffirmed their commitment for a quality and decent learning facility for Trenton Central High School (TCHS) students by renewing their request that funding be authorized by the Schools Development Authority (SDA) for new construction.

“It is critical that children in Trenton have the proper facilities to learn,” Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Princeton) said. “It was a lack of action which led to Trenton being bumped from the last round of construction. As a result, the already outdated building has become even more distressed.”

The legislators expressed concern that the City of Trenton has been slated for a new high school since 2004. Despite not being funded in the first round of construction, the project was slated for funding this round under monies approved by the Legislature in 2008. While roughly $175 million has been budgeted for construction at the TCHS site, according to the SDA, the public push back over preserving certain iconic elements of the current building held up approval plans. The SDA required the district to allow more time for community input, further delaying the authorization of funding.

“The construction of a new high school has been put off for far too long,” stated Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D- Ewing). “Children in Trenton deserve a school building that can provide a safe and comfortable atmosphere in which to learn.”

Senator Shirley Turner (D-Lawrence), who met with Trenton school district officials on March 7, said that the condition of the school can no longer be tolerated. Acting Superintendent Ray Broach, School Board President Nicola Tatum, the Director of Abbott Facilities, and the Executive Director of Buildings and Grounds updated the Senator on their efforts to secure funding and make emergency repairs.

“The quality of the building is in such a poor state that it creates an environment that is an impediment to learning,” said Senator Turner, who has received complaints from parents about the poor air quality and unsatisfactory environmental conditions that have resulted from leaking roofs, water-soaked walls, and damp carpeting. “It is imperative that this project be expedited to protect the health and safety of our students.”

Senator Turner also personally spoke with SDA’s Chief Executive Officer, Marc Larkins, who updated her on the roof repairs and masonry work needed on the building. He also informed the Senator that he would be taking part in a tour of the facility scheduled for this week.

“Make no mistake about it, the state of a student’s learning environment can affect their performance, morale, and above all their safety,” said Assemblywoman Watson Coleman. “This project has been put off for far too long and deserves to be made an emergent priority by the SDA.”

“The children of the City of Trenton have a great need for this project to move forward,” concluded Gusciora. “While this initiative is just a small part of the infrastructure redevelopment required in the Trenton school system, successful completion of this project will be a major turning point for these students.”