State Approves $3.1 million in Grants to Midland Park Schools
● By Rebecca K. Abma
The New Jersey Department of Education has allocated $3.1 million in grants to Midland Park schools, Board of Education President Bill Sullivan announced on Wednesday. The grants, part of $500 million in grants to 331 school districts in the state this month, represent 40 percent of the $7,966,532 total cost of approved Level 1 facility projects.
"The scope of these projects include exterior doors and windows, plumbing and HVAC upgrades, electrical service upgrades including lighting, Fire Alarm, intercom & PA, flooring replacement and other items at all three buildings," Sullivan told Midland Park Press.
The remaining $4.8 million of the approved projects will need to be raised locally, likely through referendum.
"The Board of Education must now determine how to fund our share of the costs and various committees will work on recommendations for approval by the Board as a whole," Sullivan stated.
The state announced grants to most of the Regular Operating Districts last week, however Midland Park was not on the list, causing many parents to be concerned that the district would not be receiving any grants.
According to DOE Spokesman Richard Vespucci the level I projects for Midland Park were anticipated in last week's round of facility grants. However, "Midland Park’s project applications combined (bundled) Level I with non-Level I projects," he said. "Since priority was given by the state to review Level I projects, we did not immediately identify any Midland Park project for review, although Level I needs for Midland Park were anticipated when funds were set aside for the latest round of grants."
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.