Murphy Administration Approves $450 Million in School Construction Funding

Today the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) announced the approval of nearly $450 million in school construction funds to address critical facilities needs in 261 school districts throughout the state.

Of this $450 million in construction, $350 million will come from the State’s Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund, which was established two years ago to help pay down existing debt and avoid incurring new debt by funding projects outright rather than incurring new borrowing. This move is expected to save the State and taxpayers roughly $350 million in total as opposed to issuing 30-year bonds at current interest rates.

“This funding is part of a state and local partnership that will invest in hundreds of school projects while saving a significant amount of taxpayer dollars. Coupled with an infusion of local funding, this collaboration will generate more than $1 billion in important upgrades to schools throughout New Jersey,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Ensuring our students receive a world-class education in a first-rate learning environment while relieving the pressure on local taxpayers is a top priority of my Administration.”

“This funding demonstrates our ongoing commitment to providing safe, modern learning environments,” said Dr. Angelica Allen-McMillan, Acting Commissioner of Education. “In addition, improving the physical and safety conditions of school buildings improves working conditions for teachers and elevates the pride and support of the school community as a whole. This funding will benefit countless students in hundreds of schools throughout New Jersey.”

“The advancement of these projects further ensures high-quality learning environments for students and staff, addressing issues that can affect health and safety including replacement of leaky roofs and inefficient boilers,” said Manuel Da Silva, SDA Chief Executive Officer. “This grant funding impacts hundreds of local communities around the state by helping districts leverage resources to pay for important school facility projects while continuing to bolster the State’s construction industry.”

The NJDOE determined the selection of school projects receiving grant funds, and the grants are administered by the Schools Development Authority. School projects were identified by need, such as essential building systems upgrades like the repair or replacement of structural components, mechanical/heating and cooling, and electrical systems; building roofs; and to resolve building code issues. The funding will provide for numerous high-priority upgrades including 320 HVAC systems, 79 boilers or water heaters, and 211 roofs.

Besides the $449.9 million in state funding, local contributions totaling $598.5 million are estimated to bring the total cost of construction to more than $1 billion. The state-funded grants represent at least 40 percent of eligible costs for projects in the Regular Operating Districts (RODs) to address health and safety issues and other critical needs.

Funding for the school construction initiative was made possible through legislation signed in 2022 and grant funding from SDA allocations.

For a list of districts receiving state construction funding, click here.

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