By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
The Margate and Ventnor school districts were awarded more than $1.6 million in grants to fund critical school facilities improvements.
The NJ Department of Education announced Sept. 7 that 261 NJ school districts would receive nearly $450 million from the state’s Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund that was established two years ago to fund projects outright instead of incurring new debt. The funds were approved by the Legislature in 2022.
“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,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
Murphy said the funds would ensure students receive a first-class education in a first-rate learning environment.
Ventnor Superintendent Carmela Somershoe said the $581,935 grant represents 40% of the cost of doing HVAC projects scheduled for next year, estimated to cost a total of $1,454,838.
“We are exploring options for the 60% local share, including other grant funds and city bonding,” Somershoe said. “The Building and Grounds Committee is reviewing additional HVAC projects for a future ROD (Regular Operating District) grant application.”
Margate Superintendent Audrey Becker said the district has prioritized roofing and HVAC projects in the district’s two schools.
“The projects we submitted were all part of our Long Range Facilities Plan, and most are currently part of the bond we received from the city in 2022,” she said. “Since many of the costs have increased since we initially started the bond projects, these grant funds are extremely appreciated and valued as they will permit us to continue our plans and not need to ask for more funding from the city government.”
DOE Spokesperson Michael Yaple said all of the grants awarded to 17 schools in nine Atlantic County districts would be used for HVAC improvements or HVAC controls.
Click here to download a list of districts receiving state construction funding.
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