Fort Lee School District Begins Getting Funds for Referendum Repairs
The latest is a $172,000 state grant for masonry repairs at the 100-year-old Fort Lee School No. 4.
The Christie administration announced Wednesday that the Fort Lee School District will receive $172,000 through its Schools Development Authority’s (SDA) Regular District Grant Program.
“Furthering the Governor’s commitment to providing the state’s children with safe, modern and efficient schools, the Christie Administration [Wednesday] announced that the New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) has executed a state grant to the Fort Lee School District through the SDA’s Regular Operating District (ROD) grant program,” Andrea Pasquine of SDA said in a statement.
The referendum, which was significantly scaled-back from the previous two in 2010, comes with nearly $10 million in state grant funding, which would have been lost to the district had the referendum failed again.
Interim Superintendent of Schools Steven Engravalle said that funding is just one part of that which the district will receive as a result of Fort Lee voters approving the school board’s $30.2 million referendum in January.
“What [the state is] doing, is their doing press releases as the paperwork is properly completed,” Engravalle said. “Realize what the referendum essentially did was it gave us the right to file all these types of papers with the state to pursue the grant funding.”
He went on to give much of the credit for getting the proper paperwork done and submitted in timely fashion to school district business administrator and board secretary Cheryl Balletto.
“[She] expertly completed all of the paperwork and is working closely with our superintendent of Buildings and Grounds Jack Denichilo,” Engravalle said. “All her hard work with her staff to make sure that all of the paperwork was expedited, we’ll be able to complete these projects this summer as we receive funding approval.”
Engravalle called “one of the big ones” as far as funding approval is concerned, will be when the district receives word that HVAC approval comes through.
“That’s really where we're going to see some dollar signs, savings to us, as we change over the boilers and things like that,” Engravalle said.
He also said the $172,000 for School No. 4 is “just one piece” and will allow the district to get critical masonry repairs done this summer at the 100-year-old elementary school.
“We have some leakage in the lower basement of School 4 due to some cracks in the foundation, masonry, etc.; all of that is part of what’s going to be repaired,” Engravalle said. “That’s an old building so you’re talking about probably 100-year-old concrete.”
SDA Chief Executive Officer Marc Larkins, in cooperation with the Department of Education, announced the resumption of the grant program in May 2010,and the SDA has given out 835 grants. The state-grant program funds at least 40 percent of eligible costs for projects in the RODs, addressing health and safety issues, student overcrowding and other critical needs, state officials said.