Governor Murphy visits Passaic to highlight nearly $2 billion in budget investments for school infrastructure

The allocated funding will support high quality education and learning environments

CITY OF PASSAIC – Governor Phil Murphy today visited Passaic Public School’s Dayton Avenue campus to highlight investments in education in his fiscal year 2023 (FY 2023) budget. Over the past five years, the Murphy administration has been committed to building a top-ranked education system for all New Jersey students with equity at the forefront.

As part of the FY 2023 budget agreement, the state allocated $1.55 billion to support the School Development Authority’s (SDA) 2022 strategic plan to advance more than a dozen school construction projects in areas of SDA in FY 2026 and an additional $350 million for facilities projects in regular operating areas. These funds will be absorbed through the Debt Relief and Prevention Fund and will not increase the state’s debt burden. $10 million for charter and Renaissance school facility improvements and $75 million for capital maintenance and emergency projects will be funded through the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) and SDA. Taken together, these investments represent the most significant investment in school construction in more than a decade.

“The educational success of all New Jersey students is a top priority for my administration,” Governor Murphy said. “The necessary investment in SDA and DOE will ensure that our schools have the proper infrastructure for our students to thrive in their educational environments.” These children are the future leaders of our country, and every child deserves a world-class education and school in which to learn and grow.”

The governor attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Dayton Avenue Education Campus in Passaic, one of the largest SDA projects in the state, costing nearly $241 million. The new 448,000-square-foot campus, which broke ground in 2018, will house four schools serving up to 3,000 students from preschool through 8th grade, including:

  • Abraham Lincoln School (Pre-K program) – 28 classrooms, three specialty rooms and a courtyard play area.
  • Mahatma Gandhi Primary School – 33 general classrooms, five self-contained special education classrooms, three science laboratories, media centre, music room and gym.
  • Ellen Ochoa Gifted and Talented Academy (Magnet School Program) – 28 general classrooms, three self-contained special education classrooms, three science labs, art room, dance studio, vocal music room, media center, two Teach to One study areas and a cafeteria .
  • Muhammad Ali Middle School – 27 general classrooms, six self-contained special education classrooms, three science labs, four project labs, three Teach to One learning areas, a gym, a cafeteria, as well as classrooms dedicated to the arts.

“SDA is pleased to play a vital role in creating an environment that fosters the learning and development of our state’s future leaders—students. We take this responsibility very seriously.” said Manuel Da Silva, CEO of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority. “Thanks to the Governor and the State Legislature, the stable funding provided for the state’s School Building Program has allowed us to move forward with the projects identified in our 2022 Strategic Plan Update. This funding supports the delivery of Passaic schools and communities across the state to address significant deficiencies in capacity and facilities.”

“Today we celebrate our continued commitment to funding education in this state. Although we have a long way to go in our collective efforts, this year’s budget puts us nearly $2 billion closer to ensuring that all New Jersey children have access to state-of-the-art classrooms. The Dayton Avenue campus will change the lives of thousands of students in Passaic City.” said Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz. “This transformative investment in school infrastructure will enable similar projects across the state, improving the educational environment for countless students who call New Jersey home.”

“This is the type of strategic investment supported by a resourceful state budget that uses resources to upgrade and improve New Jersey’s education infrastructure.” said Sen. Paul Sarlo, who has represented the city of Passaic in the Legislature for 20 years. “We are taking advantage of the opportunity to invest in communities across the state. I worked with determination for two decades to help the City of Passaic obtain state funding to build new schools, including the Dayton Avenue Education Campus. This is a construction project that will provide long-term benefits to students and faculty with facilities that will support educational advancement.

“The opening of the Dayton Avenue Education Campus is a historic day for the City of Passaic,” said Rep. Gary Schaer. “This state-of-the-art complex represents transformational changes made to public schools to ensure every child receives the quality education they deserve. I am extremely grateful to Governor Murphy, as well as our state and local partners; the Dayton Avenue Education Campus is an unprecedented investment in Passaic’s future.”

“Governor Murphy is committed to expanding educational opportunities in communities like ours to ensure developmental equity for our children,” Passaic City Mayor Hector Lora said. “Today is the realization of a dream that so many people have worked hard for, including Senator Sarlo, Assemblyman Schaer, the Passaic City Board of Education and other state and local leaders. I am proud to be the mayor of this city and to be able to work with leaders who continue to invest in the future of our children.”

“As a kid from downtown Passaic City, I can say that a downtown school complex has been a long time coming. We are so excited to see a modernized 21st century educational campus in this area, and we are even more excited for the students who will benefit from all that it will be able to offer not only physically, but certainly academically and programmatically.” said Passaic School Superintendent Sandra Montanez-Diodonet.

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