Breaking: Connors School Funding Frozen
Loss of Connors funding confirmed
Hoboken’s poorest students will continue to attend its most run-down school now that state funding to renovate Connors is gone.
As Hoboken411 reported first, Republican Governor Chris Christie has put the kibosh on the long awaited project, instead funding many others across the state.
After 411 broke the news today, a letter from state Schools Development Authority Mike Larkins outlining the rejection made it’s way into our inbox. Interim Schools Superintendent Peter Carter has some egg on his face today after telling 4th ward residents just last week that the Connors project was on track, and that he and Mayor Dawn Zimmer would be “leading a parade of Connors students to their temporary home at Demarest” on the first day of school.
Assemblyman Ramos wants Connors funding restored
Assemblyman (and former 4th Ward / Councilman At-large) Ruben Ramos is appealing to restore the funding. In a letter to the Governor today, Ramos says Connors is “in dire need of repair” and “upgrades are essential.” In addition to the plan to bring Connors into the 21st century, there are also structural repairs needed for the building. Christie rejected facilities funding for areas once considered “Abbott” districts, but is funding many projects in non-Abbott districts.
A list of 142 approved projects was outlined in a press release today.
Funding for leased space at St. Francis also canceled
Adding insult to Hoboken’s injury, the NJSDA is also canceling its funding support for the Abbott pre-K facility rental at St. Francis. This could become a de-facto tax increase, since the Board of Ed may have to decide whether it will continue to pay the lease with Hoboken tax dollars. All this on top of the Governor’s proposed cuts in the school breakfast and lunch program, which would effect the vast majority of Hoboken’s public school kids currently eligible for free meals. Still no official comment on this news from Superintendent Carter, the Board of Education, or the Mayor’s office.
Sources: Gov. Christie halts Connors School renovations
Just days after Mayor Dawn Zimmer rolled out the red carpet for Governor Chris Christie, his Department of Education has apparently rescinded approval for the state-funded Connors Elementary School rehabilitation project. Today, Christie’s Schools Development Authority announced the latest round of grants for 142 projects in 59 school districts.
Hoboken wasn’t on that list.
Connors money held up for at least a year, possibly forever
Sources tell Hoboken411 the state informed Hoboken school administrators late last week that funding for the $33 million Connors School rehab would be frozen for at least a year as the Christie Administration reviews major school grants statewide. Sources say the district – led by interim Superintendent Peter Carter – has been refusing to confirm or deny this information. School Board trustees not associated with the Kids First majority have been asking the administration to confirm or deny this news, with no response.
Is the money gone, or is it? Was it ever there?
That’s the answer the public deserves to know now before the already disruptive student shell game around school buildings begins this summer. As a result of Superintendent Carter’s insistence that the money for Connors was coming, a massive reorganization of buildings began. Last November Carter announced 400 Connors kids will be sent to Demarest next year, sending the Hoboken Charter School scrambling for a new location. The announcements came before the district had a check in hand from the state to begin the renovations, planned for this August.
Carter insisted Hoboken would get the money
As late as a meeting last week at the Hoboken Housing Authority, Superintendent Carter was challenged on his confidence that the money would be released for Connors. He insisted it would, and (according to one witness) dismissed out of hand anyone who claimed it wouldn’t. Now, if the rumors are true – and they are supported by the SDA’s release today – the Connors renovation is in jeopardy thanks to the new mood in Trenton.
Before the last election Dawn Zimmer joined with other Democrats in endorsing Governor Jon Corzine because she said, “He would be best for Hoboken.” Last week her embrace of Governor Christie enraged many local Democrats, who say a Republican move to pull funding for the Connors School project may be just the beginning.
This story is breaking… more as details become available.