Saturday, February 13, 2016

ICYMI: Will site of stalled school project become a Christie "transformation" school?

Questions also remain about whether the shovel-ready site is still scheduled to become a 33-classroom public school - or a privately run, publicly funded experiment known as a "transformation school" advocated by the Christie administration and South Jersey Democrats.

ICYMI: Will site of stalled school project become a Christie "transformation" school?

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In case you missed it, Inquirer reporter Claudia Vargas and I wrote this story on Sunday about calls for an investigation into the Lanning Square School project in Camden, which the Christie administration has put on hold.

When the chunks of concrete began falling, Camden's Lanning Square School closed and students were temporarily moved into two 19th-century buildings.

Nine years and $10 million later, the Lanning Square School has been demolished, architectural plans have been drawn for a new building, and adjacent homes have been seized by eminent domain - but the neighborhood is nowhere near getting a new school.

Now children's advocates are calling for an investigation into how part of the land set aside for a $42.4 million school has become a parking lot for a politically connected construction project.

"For them to take property that's designated for that purpose, ready to be built, and then behind closed doors, with no public process, no accountability, let somebody else use the property . . . raises serious concerns that warrant investigation," said David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center in Newark, which represents students in poor districts.

"The public needs to know how this happened."

Questions also remain about whether the shovel-ready site is still scheduled to become a 33-classroom public school - or a privately run, publicly funded experiment known as a "transformation school" advocated by the Christie administration and South Jersey Democrats.

"This isn't the time for spending time on other types of schemes for which there's no legislative authority," Sciarra said. "These kids need this school now."

Click here to read the rest of the story.

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