District Holds Out Hope For State Grants
● By Rebecca K. Abma
The Christie administration announced more than $500 million in grants to 331 school districts this week, but Midland Park was not on the list. School Board President William Sullivan said the district is still hopeful it will receive aid.
“We got the news yesterday that Midland Park wasn’t on the list, and although we are slated for the aid, the state again asked for more clarification,” Sullivan told Midland Park Press. “We got back to them right away and we hope to get good news next week.”
The New Jersey Department of Education grants, which were announced in May, represent at least 40 percent of eligible costs for projects in the Regular Operating Districts (RODs) and address health and safety issues, student overcrowding and other critical needs. The remainder of the project costs will need to be raised locally, likely through referendum.
"These grants were for what are called level I projects, which are projects that essentially make a building waterproof – roof, window and door repair and replacement are for what most of the money awarded this week is for," explained Rich Vespucci, spokesman for the NJDOE. "The pool of money available for the grants covered everyone’s Level 1 request. Midland Park must have projects other than the ones I just described, which is why they were not included in this group of awards."
Last December, Midland Park voters rejected a $15.3 million two-part referendum to make needed upgrades to the district’s aging facilities, including boilers, plumbing, bathrooms, windows, roof work and the high school track and field. In April, voters approved a second question to replace portions of the roofs at the three schools, for just under $1 million.
In Bergen County, the state approved $141 million in construction projects thus far. In Northwest Bergen, both Allendale and Mahwah were awarded roughly $1 million each, while Oakland and Ramsey were awarded $800,000 and $600,000 respectively. Ridgewood, Wyckoff and Northern Highlands Regional High School each received less than $500,000, and Waldwick has been promised $80,000.
For the full list of grants distributed across the state, see the file attached to this article.