Murphy cuts N.J. plan to borrow $1B for school upgrades by half

School improvements include enhancing security, expanding vocational-technical schools and community colleges, and helping schools replace outdated plumbing.



After Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed a bill seeking a $1 billion bond act to fund school improvements, New Jersey lawmakers voted unanimously to go along with Murphy’s advice to cut the proposed amount in half.

In his veto message, Murphy endorsed the goals of the legislation. But he raised concerns about the debt load from borrowing that much money to improve school security, expand vocational-technical schools and community colleges, and help schools pay to replace water pipes.

Though he said he was disappointed with the reduction, Senate President Steve Sweeney remained pragmatic

“I’m not overjoyed with this, but, to get it on this year’s ballot, we agreed to take half the deal pretty much in order to make some kids can get into vocational schools and we can make our schools safer,” said Sweeney, D-Gloucester.

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The executive director of the New Jersey Council of Vocational-Technical School said the move will benefit thousands of students throughout the state.

“This proposed bond act will enable the schools to expand, to add new programs to meet the needs of industry and employers and move the economy forward,” said Judy Savage, who said 17,000 students were turned away last year from vo-tech schools because they were at capacity.

Voters will decide in November whether to approve the $500 million bond act.

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