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CORZINE ORDERS REVIEW AND REFORM OF SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION

By Executive Order, Governor Jon Corzine has ordered a top-to-bottom review of New Jersey’s school construction program, and has appointed a Special Counsel and working group to recommend reforms to the program.

In addition, the Governor has appointed Barry Zubrow, the former Chief Administrator of Goldman Sachs, as Chair of the Schools Construction Corporation (SCC), and appointed several new Board members to SCC, including Gabriella Morris of the Prudential Foundation in Newark.

Scott Weiner, former Commissioner of the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and currently Director of the Center for Energy Policy at Rutgers, will serve as Special Counsel, and is charged with leading the program review by the working group.

The working group is directed to review "the entire School Construction Program and the laws, regulations and policies governing educational facilities and to develop recommendations for reform" including recommendations for statutory changes.

The working group is also charged with recommending immediate changes to improve SCC operations so that an effective program is in place "to design and build schools in collaboration with local school boards and communities." In addition, the Acting Commissioner of Education is directed to make all necessary changes within the Department of Education to "ensure coordination of school construction activities with other Abbott initiatives."

"We are heartened that the Governor is making comprehensive reform of school construction a top priority," said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director and Abbott Counsel. "Building quality schools, in a cost effective manner, will make our cities better places to live and more economically competitive. We are ready to work with the new SCC Chair and Special Counsel to quickly make the changes we need."