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Some news items come from the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities (NCEF).
NJ announces $508 million for school construction
Associate Press, NJTV News
December 4, 2013
-- New Jersey’s School Development Authority has announced plans to use $508 million to help pay for construction projects in the majority of the state’s school districts.
The state said Wednesday that it will pay 100 percent of the costs in 31 lower-income districts and at least 40 percent of the costs in other districts for projects that address health and safety concerns and overcrowding.
Including the local districts’ contributions, the total costs of the projects is estimated at $1.1 billion.
The state’s portion of the funding comes from $3.9 billion in bonds the Legislature authorized in 2008 for school facilities projects.
Overall, more than 1,500 projects are planned in 331 districts.
Report Identifies Newark's Most Decrepit School Buildings
Paul Milo, Newark Patch
December 3, 2013
-- A Newark-based advocacy group Tuesday identified the 20 worst buildings in the Newark public school system, all of which are more than a century old.
The Education Law Center based its assessment on the district’s own data, which utilized an index employed nationwide to rate the quality of school facilities.
Click here for a complete list of the schools.
The ELC also noted that despite being eligible for state school construction funds, only five new schools have been built in the district since 2002, even though a district facility plan from that year identified a total of 17 schools that needed to be replaced.
“An Education Law Center analysis shows that, despite State control and eligibility for state funding, NPS schools remain among the state's most neglected, dilapidated and unfit for student learning. Every day, thousands of Newark school children attend school in facilities that are unsafe, overcrowded and inadequate to provide a 21st century education,” ELC said in a statement.
Big crowd hotly decries plan to close Warwick Vets High School
BARBARA POLICHETTI, Providence Journal
December 2, 2013
-- More than 500 people turned out Monday night to protest a school consolidation plan that would convert Warwick Veterans High School into a junior high school and allow two junior high schools — Aldrich and Gorton — to close by 2015.
Many in the crowd wore the blue and gold colors of Warwick Vets, and emotions ran high as the people who filled the seats in the auditorium at Toll Gate High School were quick to show school officials that they wanted to be heard.
They booed and catcalled when officials started the meeting with an overview of the data that the administration and a special long-term planning committee used in coming up with the consolidation plan.
They jumped to their feet with standing ovations when people challenged the research or made emotional pleas to keep Warwick Vets open and serving surrounding neighborhoods where many families have generations who attended the school.
“You’re wasting our time,” people shouted as school officials tried to show that due to steadily declining enrollment, Warwick no longer needs or can afford three high schools and three junior high schools.
In response to the public’s demand to be heard, School Committee Chairwoman Bethany Furtado said that the board would put off taking its turn to publicly ask questions of the administration and the planning committee.
Lab School seeks to extend lease on Northwest Washington school building
Emma Brown, Washington Post
District of Columbia:
December 2, 2013
-- The D.C. Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to allow the Lab School of Washington, a private school for students with disabilities, to extend its lease on an old public school building in Northwest Washington.
The proposal would allow Lab to lease the old Hardy School off Foxhall Road — not to be confused with the still-operating Hardy Middle School in Burleith — for 25 years, with an option for an additional 25 years. It has drawn broad support and passed out of the council’s Committee on Economic Development on a unanimous vote.
But parents at nearby Key Elementary are asking the council to delay a decision until the city finalizes new school boundaries in September. The boundary overhaul is meant in part to address severe overcrowding at Key Elementary and other Northwest schools, they argue. What if it turns out that the city could use an extra building in that part of the city?
“The old Hardy school should be factored into the boundary review process currently underway,” said Key parent Bill Slover, adding that it’s premature to execute a long-term lease on that building until the city can “provide a clear road map that will solve the existing overcrowding, not to mention future issues.”
Wake County schools gearing up for multi-year student assignment plan
T. Keung Hui, News Observer
December 2, 2013
-- The student assignment respite for thousands of Wake County families could be a brief one.
As noted in today’s article, school administrators say they’ve begun work on a multi-year assignment plan that would cover the 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years. This means that while there might not be any reassignments for the 2014-15 school year, the break could be short lived for lots of families.
Based on this possible timeline,a draft of the new assignment plan would go before school board advisory committees, apparently in the spring, for feedback. The drafts would be posted for community feedback on the district’s website.
In June, after one or two meetings with the board advisory committees, staff would present the most current draft to the public at community meetings around the county. Families of current students who would be impacted by the proposal would be notified by mail before the meetings are held.
The final plan would go to the school board in September. The board would adopt the plan in October after public hearings and work sessions.
The plan calls for filling 14 new schools so that means already a lot of families will be impacted. But it could grow a lot more because staff says it will also look at all the existing schools to see if they’re aligned with the student assignment policy’s pillars of student achievement, stability, proximity and operational efficiency.
The last multi-year plan adopted by the school board in 2009 called for moving 25,486 students over a three-year period.
There are a lot of questions about the new plan, including:
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