The Christie Administration along with the state of New Jersey and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority have issued $30 million in federally subsidized, low-interest bonds to help finance construction of new classrooms and other needed facilities within the state’s charter schools.
“For too long, charter schools have been denied equitable resources to finance construction projects needed to grow, expand and serve even more children,” said Acting Education Commissioner Rochelle Hendricks. “Other public schools have always been able to borrow money at a low interest rate to help them meet their facilities needs. Today, we begin to level the playing field by providing financial help to charters to help them build and improve facilities,” added Hendricks.
Charter schools have until November 19, 2010 to apply for the construction funding and projects will be awarded on a competitive basis. The EDA is looking for projects that are currently underway with other financing in place so that the money can be used to immediately address the schools needs.
“The loans we will be administering will put the finishing touches on projects so they can move rapidly to construction,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Caren Franzini.
In Newark, where both the city and the Newark Public School District have already forged partnerships with local charter schools, sharing more than $20 million in federal stimulus bonds in 2009 and 2010, the news of the construction bonds was more than welcomed.
“In our city, we are working together to help address the facilities needs of some of our outstanding charter schools, but much work is needed,” Mashea Ashton, chief executive officer of the Newark Charter School Fund. “We are all public schools together, and we applaud the state’s efforts to make these precious resources available to a greater number of charter schools in Newark and across the state.”