In 2000, the Educational Facilities Construction and Financing Act provided an initial authorization of $2.6 billion for grants to Regular Operating Districts (RODs), including $100 million for vocational schools. This initial funding has been fully obligated.

On July 9, 2008 legislation was signed providing an additional $1 billion in funding for RODs including $50 million for vocational schools. The Department of Education (DOE) developed an application process to allocate these funds, which are disbursed by the SDA.

More information on the Grant Program for School Facilities Projects in RODs is available on the DOE Web site at: www.state.nj.us/education/facilities.

GRANT ELIGIBILITY

School districts are eligible to receive at least 40 percent of eligible project costs. For a school facilities project to be considered for grant funding, the proposed scope of work must be 100 percent eligible for State support. Funds may be used to address health and safety, overcrowding, provide spaces to deliver in-district programs for disabled students, or deliver full-day kindergarten facilities for school districts required to provide full-day preschool. Only projects that are 100 percent eligible for state support and included in one of at least three prioritization "levels" will be considered by DOE, although districts may request debt-service aid for other projects.

AWARDS

Following approval by the DOE, the project will be transmitted to SDA who will then offer a grant to the district. Upon proof of local share and completion of other required grant-related documents, the SDA is then able to execute a grant agreement.

PAYMENT

Grants are paid out as districts attain specific project milestones.

For projects with a final eligible cost of more than $250,000:

Design phase payment (representing reimbursement of payments to design and other consultants) 10%
35% Construction Completion 30%
65% Construction Completion 40%
Substantial Completion 15%
Final Completion 5%

For projects with a final eligible cost that is less than or equal to $250,000:

50% Construction Completion 50.5%
Substantial Completion 45%
Final Completion 4.5%

At each request for payment by the district, SDA sends a Grant Inspection Team to review documents justifying disbursement. Teams also physically inspect the school.