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TOP 20 WORST NEWARK SCHOOL BUILDINGS

December 3, 2014

The Newark Public Schools (NPS) is New Jersey's largest school district with approximately 37,000 students enrolled in 73 schools across five sections of the city.  NPS has been under State control for over 17 years, led by a State-district Superintendent appointed by the NJ Commissioner of Education. The elected Newark school board is purely advisory. 

NPS is also an "SDA District," eligible for full state funding for emergent repairs, capital maintenance, and replacement or renovation of its school buildings through the NJ Department of Education (DOE) and the NJ Schools Development Authority (SDA).           

An Education Law Center analysis shows that, despite State control and eligibility for State funding, NPS schools remain among the state's most neglected, dilapidated and unfit for student learning. Every day, thousands of Newark school children attend school in facilities that are unsafe, overcrowded and inadequate to provide a 21st Century education.

ELC has compiled a list of the Top 20 Newark schools in the worst physical condition.   The list is based on the Newark Public School District’s 2012 survey of school facilities, also known as the Facilities Condition Assessment. This assessment utilized the Facility Conditions Index (FCI) rating for all NPS schools. The FCI is a nationally-recognized, objective method of assessing the condition of school facilities and is used by districts and states to document the physical characteristics of instructional and other spaces in school buildings and to inform district management and facilities planning. The NPS assessment rated schools according to the FCI. The higher the FCI, the poorer the relative condition of the facility. Schools with high FCIs are ranked in “very poor” or “poor” condition and are likely in need of replacement.  

ELC analyzed twenty NPS schools currently in use and ranked in very poor or poor condition. In the 2002 Newark Public Schools Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP), 17 of these twenty schools were identified as in need of replacement. However, through 2010, the SDA had completed only 5 new schools for NPS, and since 2010, no new schools buildings or major renovations have been completed.

All of the Top 20 worst schools are over 100 years old, with nine built between 1873 and 1899, and the remaining 11 built between 1900 and 1911. Ten schools have a utilization rate (the ratio of current enrollment to school capacity) of over 100%, demonstrating that they are overcrowded, several severely so. All schools are in very poor or poor condition. Twelve buildings are identified as in “very poor” condition, which means they should be promptly replaced with new schools. All of these schools are "neighborhood schools," having served children and families residing in Newark's diverse communities for decades.

Here are Newark's Top 20 worst school buildings:

 

1. Oliver Street School

Ward: East (Ironbound)

Address: 104 Oliver St., 07105

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1869, Last Addition: 1921

Facility Condition: Very Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 905/627

Utilization Rate: 144% (overcrowded)

 

2. Newton Street School  

Ward: Central

Address: 150 Newton St., 07103

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1873, Last Addition: 1913

Facility Condition: Very Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 408/507

Utilization Rate: 80%

 

3. Alexander Street School

Ward: West

Address: 43 Alexander St., 07106

Students served: Grade 1 – Grade 8

Year Built: 1896, Last Addition: 1920

Facility Condition: Very Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 379/511

Utilization Rate: 74%

 

4. Peshine Avenue School

Ward: South

Address: 433 Peshine Ave., 07112

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1911, Last Addition: 1962

Facility Condition: Very Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 572/824

Utilization Rate: 69%

 

5. Roseville Avenue School

Ward: North

Address: 70 Roseville Ave., 07103

Students served: Kindergarten-Grade 4

Year Built: 1883, Last Addition: none

Facility Condition: Very Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 156/172

Utilization Rate: 91%

 

6. South Street School

Ward: East (Ironbound)

Address: 151 South St., 07114

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 5

Year Built: 1883, Last Addition: 1900

Facility Condition: Very Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 343/266

Utilization Rate: 129% (overcrowded)

 

7. Sussex Avenue

Ward: Central

Address: 307 Sussex Avenue, 07107

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1900, Last Addition: 1996

Facility Condition: Very Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 497/432

Utilization Rate: 115% (overcrowded)

 

8. Ann Street School

Ward: East (Ironbound)

Address: 30 Ann St., 07105

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1891, Last Addition: 1916

Facility Condition: Very Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 1340/720

Utilization Rate: 186 % (severely overcrowded)

 

9. Lafayette Street School

Ward: East (Ironbound)

Address: 205 Lafayette St., 07105

Students served: Prekindergarten- Grade 8

Year Built: 1908, Last Addition: None

Facility Condition: Very Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 1118/650

Utilization Rate: 172% (severely overcrowded)

(Includes enrollment data from Lafayette St. Annex)

 

10. Abington Avenue School

Ward: North

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1900, Last Addition: 1922

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 767/661

Utilization Rate: 116% (overcrowded)

 

11. East Side High School

Ward: East (Ironbound)

Address: 238 Van Buren St., 07105

Students served: Grade 9-Grade 12

Year Built: 1911, Last Addition: 1979

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 1467/1075

Utilization Rate: 136% (overcrowded)

 

12. Fourteenth Ave.

Ward: West

Address: 186 Fourteenth. Ave., 07103

Students served: Kindergarten-Grade 4

Year Built: 1906, Last Addition: None

Facility Condition:  Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 229/280

Utilization Rate: 82%

 

13. Lincoln School

Ward: West

Address: 87 Richelieu Terrace, 07106

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1908, Last Addition: 1926

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity:  416/387

Utilization Rate: 107% (overcrowded)

 

14. South 17th Street

Ward: West

Address: 619 South 17th St., 07103

Students served: Kindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1911, Last Addition: 1970

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 468/593

Utilization Rate: 79%

 

15. Harriet Tubman

Ward: West

Address: 504 S. 10th St., 07103

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 6

Year Built: 1888, Last Addition: 1974

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 296/351

Utilization Rate: 84%

 

16. Madison School

Ward: South

Address: 823 S. 16th St., 07108

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 5

Year Built: 1904, Last Addition: 1970

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-2013 Enrollment/School Capacity: 455/560

Utilization Rate: 81%

 

17. Wilson Avenue School

Ward: East (Ironbound)

Address: 19 Wilson Ave., 07105

Students served: Kindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1881, Last Addition: 1924

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/School Capacity: 928/415

Utilization Rate: 224% (severely overcrowded)

(Includes enrollment data from Wilson Street ECC Annex)

 

18. Hawkins Street School

Ward: East (Ironbound)

Address: 8 Hawkins St., 07105

Students served: Prekindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1887, Last Addition: 1950

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/Capacity: 523/499

Utilization Rate: 105% (overcrowded)

 

19. Ridge Street School

Ward: North

Address: 735 Ridge St., 07104

Students served: Kindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1911, Last Addition: 1960

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/Capacity: 596/470

Utilization Rate: 127% (overcrowded)

 

20. Hawthorne Avenue

Ward: South

Address: 428 Hawthorne Ave., 07112

Students served: Kindergarten-Grade 8

Year Built: 1908, Last Addition: 1930

Facility Condition: Poor

2012-13 Enrollment/Capacity: 340/594

Utilization Rate: 57%

 

In 2007, the DOE approved a 2005 LRFP for NPS, as required by law. Given the deteriorating condition of NPS schools, the approved LRFP planned for building 21 new schools on new sites, building 14 new schools on existing or expanded sites, renovating and expanding 9 existing buildings, and renovating 14 existing buildings.

The SDA and DOE recently prioritized replacing Elliott, Oliver, and South Street with new schools. Construction has just begun on the Elliot and Oliver schools, but no work has been done to advance the South Street replacement project. There is no schedule or timeframe for any of the remaining 55 projects.   

NPS has also failed to update its 2005 LRFP to address changes in enrollment and building conditions. By law, the LRFP should have been submitted by NPS to DOE over a year ago. ELC recently asked State Superintendent Cami Anderson to promptly submit the updated plan for NPS facilities to the DOE. 

Under the landmark Abbott v. Burke rulings and the state facilities law, the Commissioner of Education and the SDA are directly and solely responsible for remediating the deplorable condition of so many of NPS schools. ELC urges Newark parents, city officials and other concerned citizens to support the effort to ensure all Newark children attend school in facilities that are safe, not overcrowded, and educationally adequate for a 21st-century education.

 

Press Contact:

Sharon Krengel
Policy and Outreach Director
skrengel@edlawcenter.org
973-624-1815, x 24