When it comes to ensuring students have a proper learning environment, not all New Jersey schools are treated equally.
That's the sad truth New Jersey State Board of Education Vice President Joe Fisicaro witnessed firsthand this week after visiting Trenton Central High School, an underfunded, urban institution in need of countless structural repairs.
“In my district, they would have had a revolution,” Fisicaro said of the school, according to The Times of Trenton. “We would have parents all over the place.”
District officials asked Fisicaro to tour the school in hopes that he would see the desperation of the situation and be prompted to try to stir change. Following the visit, Fisicaro said he would lobby the board to make the necessary fixes, the outlet notes.
Photos of Trenton Central High School were included in an exhibit stationed in front of the New Jersey State House in October. The purpose of the photo exhibit was to highlight the deplorable conditions of some of New Jersey’s neediest schools. Images of the 81-year-old Trenton school showed the building has leaky roofs, disintegrating ceilings and moldy walls.
The New Jersey School Development Authority (SDA), a public agency that is in charge of building maintenance for the state’s poorest districts, is currently negotiating a timeline with the district for when it will make repairs to the school, according to The Times of Trenton. The SDA works with the state Department of Education on prioritizing repair projects, according to the SDA website.
However, many school advocates allege the agency acts too slowly.
“Allowing teachers and students to be in this condition is a moral issue,” public school advocate Moriah Kinberg told the Huffington Post in October about the numerous SDA schools awaiting repairs. “I’ve heard from teachers who say [school] conditions are making them physically ill. It’s really demoralizing to go to school when you walk into the hallway and there’s water running down the hall.”
This is not the first time a public figure has expressed shock at the condition of Trenton Central High School. State Sen. Barbara Buono, who ran for governor earlier this year, said in October that she thought the school was in such poor condition that it should be closed immediately. She said she thought the building looked worse than some prison s, according to South Jersey News.
Despite her comments, the school has not been shut down, and 1,900 students continue to receive their education in the dilapidated building.