Stimulus jobs number for NJ may be inflated

The federal government says stimulus funding has created or saved 19,000 jobs this year in New Jersey, but a Kane In Your Corner investigation has discovered those numbers could be severely inflated. The website Recovery.gov, which is run by the federal government, offers information on every federal grant and how many jobs each grant created or saved. The government says that Jersey City public schools used stimulus funds to create or save more than 1,500 jobs. Charles Epps, the superintendent of Jersey City schools, rejects the claim and says very few jobs were saved or created. In addition, state-of-the-art SmartBoards that are being used by students were purchased with stimulus money.Under federal guidelines, recipients like the Department of Education don't have to provide documentation regarding the use of stimulus funds. The department says it uses a formula that assumes all money it receives goes toward jobs, regardless of how it is actually spent.School officials in Newark, Trenton, Elizabeth and Paterson all declined to speak to Kane In Your Corner about the issue, as did the Newark Housing Authority.A spokesman for the agency that oversees stimulus money says it can only report jobs numbers it receives from recipients. He says those reports are continually being reviewed for accuracy.

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