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School Tour: A Daily Journey

School corridor

Nikki Baker, organizer with Healthy Schools Now for the NJ Work Environment Council


May 2024


Imagine that you are a student (Pre-K to 12) attending a school where the walkway is crumbling.


As you approach the entrance to your school, you have to be careful that the broken awning or facade does not collapse. When you enter the building, the temperature may be extremely hot or cold because the building does not have a functional heating or cooling system. If you are fortunate, your classroom’s temperature has not reached 100 degrees today.


Uh-oh, it’s raining - drip, drip. This means the garbage cans will be used to catch the dripping water from the ceiling. Strolling down the hallway, you smell the rancid mildew and sewage aromas from the leaky ceiling and backed up pipes. It’s always like this. 


You are greeted by the scurry of four-legged creatures who have nicknames of famous cartoon characters because they frequent the school grounds, leaving all their splendor along their paths.


You need to use the restroom. Every stall is broken, except one, and it does not have toilet tissue or a functioning door. Oh no! You wish that you could see yourself to check your face, but there is no mirror and you wonder if the faucet is working today. There isn’t any soap or hand towels to dry your hands. Watch out! The floor tiles are broken - wasn’t there a leak here, too?


Your classroom is definitely hot! None of the windows can be opened (at least you have windows, right?). You need a drink of water. The water fountain closest to your room is broken and the one that works is on the next floor. It's ancient and has no filtration system.


You wonder how you can concentrate on what is being taught [sighs heavily] …


This is just one synopsis of many scenarios, some quite worse, that many New Jersey students face in schools that are old and in need of repair or replacement.


The New Jersey Schools Development Authority (SDA) is the state agency that plays a crucial role in funding and managing construction projects for school facilities in SDA (formerly called “Abbott”) districts and providing grant funds for Regular Operating Districts (ROD.) These projects improve and modernize educational infrastructure across the state. For this reason, it is vital that the SDA be consistently funded so it can carry out this immensely important role.


We want our children to know that they are truly valued, which can begin by providing them with safe, 21st-century ready school buildings.


Join us as we work diligently to make sure all New Jersey children can learn in safe and modernized school buildings.

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