Inside: Construction

“GREEN” CONTEST

Elementary school students who have ideas about how their school buildings can become more environmentally friendly have a chance to win $100,000 that will pay for the green upgrades.

Ford Motor Company and National Geographic are sponsoring “Radical Renovation: School Edition.” The contest calls on elementary school students “to develop a fun plan to make their campus more environmentally responsible.”

The school of the winning student or students will receive $100,000, and Paul DiMeo and Constance Ramos of the TV show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” will be in charge of the facility improvements.

Students who want to enter the contest and submit their environmentally friendly vision can go to www.nationalgeographic.com/gogreen/ford. The deadline for the contest is April 7.

BILLIONS FOR BIG APPLE

A federal judge says that an additional $9.2 billion must be spent to upgrade facilities in the New York City school system, the nation's largest.

State Supreme Court Justice Leland DeGrasse's ruling adopts the recommendations of a panel appointed by the judge last year after the state of New York failed to come up with a plan to bring its educational funding system into compliance with the constitution. The judge noted evidence presented in the case “that New York City schools have excessive class sizes, and that class size affects learning.”

The judge also ordered that an additional $5.63 billion a year be spent in the system. DeGrasse did not spell out in his order whether the state would have to come up with all of the money, or whether the city would have to raise a portion of it.

Gov. George Pataki has indicated that he will appeal the judge's ruling.

PROGRESS IN NEW JERSEY

The New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation plans to complete more than 100 major construction and renovation projects in 2005.

The projects planned for this year include 14 new schools in urban areas; 20 new schools in suburban areas; 18 major additions or renovations in urban areas; and 60 major additions or renovations in suburban areas.

In addition to opening new schools, the corporation expects to begin designing more than 60 school construction projects.

The corporation was created in 2002 by the state of New Jersey to streamline the construction of school facilities as part of an $8.6 billion overhaul of educational facilities throughout the state. Since then, it has played a role in 2,500 construction projects at 1,700 schools.

ALLOCATING CALIFORNIA CONSTRUCTION MONEY
Bond election New construction Modernization Critically overcrowded Remaining funds
Proposition 55 (March 2004) --- $647 million $1.9 billion $7.5 billion
Proposition 47 (Dec. 2002) $5.6 billion $3.3 billion $1.7 billion $695 million
Proposition 1A (Nov. 1998) $3.6 billion $2.6 billion -- --
Source: California Office of School Construction, “School Facility Program Statistical and Fiscal Data, Dec. 16, 1998 through Dec. 8, 2004”
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