Critics: NJ school construction may be too expensive

The Schools Development Authority of New Jersey is expected to spend more than $750 million to build five new high schools in the state.

The development is part of a $4 billion school construction project signed by Gov. Jon Corzine over the summer. Many taxpayers are asking if the amount of money spent on each school is appropriate, or simply excessive.

Studies show that the average cost of an American high school is between $35 and $45 million. In New Jersey, the average cost is $60 million, yet the new high schools approved for construction each have price tags of over $100 million.

According to David Sciarra of the New Jersey Education Law Center, construction in New Jersey costs more than the American average. However, he says the schools shouldn?t cost such excessive amounts to build.

A new school about to open in Union City was built with a football stadium on the roof.

Sciarra says a possible reason for the excessive spending is that the program providing the tax money is a pilot idea that was designed to serve community groups as well as schools.

The School Development Authority declined News 12 New Jersey?s request for an interview.

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