Passaic City School Board Wastes Your Money Too!

15 08 2007


TWO YEARS AGO, Passaic city school officials misguided the state Schools Construction Corp. into paying the family of an accused mob associate more than $4 million for a proposed elementary school site.

In return, the agency got a piece of property that is patently unsuitable for an elementary school. And yet it seems that this egregious misdeed — for which no one has been punished — has not finished soaking the state’s taxpayers.

The most immediate of the myriad problems presented by the property is its proximity to an inappropriate movie theater and a cut-rate hotel with a history of drug arrests, both of which sit across Henry Street from the school site. The schools corporation’s successor agency, the Schools Development Authority, is now moving toward making offers on those properties to make way for a preschool and administrative offices, a spokesman told the Herald News last week. With offers being made to five property owners, at least one of whom might resist the overture, the Henry Street fiasco could get a lot more expensive than it already is.

And make no mistake: Every dollar the state spends on the other side of Henry Street is part of the bill for the ill-advised purchase of the first property. The schools authority has suspended seven other Passaic projects in various states of completion — and hundreds of others around the state — as it has come to grips with financial limitations. At the Passaic school district’s request, the authority suspended one more project so it could buy the theater, the hotel and six other properties.

The schools authority has budgeted $1.5 million to buy those properties and pay for other pre-construction costs. Add to that cost the planned elementary and middle schools at the former site of Passaic Beth Israel Hospital, which are being deferred in exchange. Meanwhile, the hospital site will keep collecting garbage.

The only clear winner here is already familiar to anyone who has been following this sordid tale: Richard Doren, the reported check-casher-to-the-mob whose wife sold the first Henry Street property to the state. Incredibly, the Doren family also owns one of the eight properties the state could buy to make the first Doren property safe for a school.

Governor Corzine’s administration deserves credit for overhauling the schools agency, but disasters like the one in Passaic require justice. We hope state authorities are taking a hard look at the local school officials who pushed the Doren site, some of whom had very close ties — financial and otherwise — to the Dorens. What this story needs is a clear loser other than the taxpayers of New Jersey.




3 responses

16 08 2007

Maybe there’s something in the Passaic water that causes the officials to waste our money.

23 08 2007

there is just too much money flying around, when you cut the budget, then the administrators in the city as well as the school board learn creative ways to save. In Passaic, the money keep flowing and they spend it as fast as it comes. Just check out the salaries of the Passaic School Officials, it’s double that of a city employee..

29 03 2010

I am a newbie here.
Glad to find this forum…as what I am looking for

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