5 NJ schools get grants from $100M Facebook gift

**FILE** Facebook.com's mastermind, Mark Zuckerberg smiles at his office in Palo Alto, Calif., in this Monday, Feb. 5, 2007 file photo. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, FILE)

April 13, 2011 3:14:29 PM PDT
Five new high schools in New Jersey's largest city have been awarded grants totaling nearly $1 million from last fall's $100 million donation made by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The awards were announced Tuesday by the Foundation for Newark's Future, the organization created to disburse the money.

BARD High School Early College Newark and Sakia Gunn High School for Civic Engagement each received $175,000 grants. Newark Leadership Academy, Newark BRIDGES High School and Newark S.T.E.A.M. Academy each received $125,000 grants. The five schools received an additional $50,000 each to help them open in the fall.

It's been six months since Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave the Newark School System a lifeline, a $100 million gift.

The first of that money to be seen in the classroom, almost one million, is a small percentage, but Mayor Cory Booker says it will go a long way.

"It's going directly to support new public school models in the City of Newark. Incredible school models that help with college achievement, with kids at risk for dropping out," Mayor Booker said.

It's a grant not without controversy.

"If I went out side and made any statement there would be someone who would oppose it. You can't stop because some people don't want great public schools," Mayor Booker said.

The city's schools advisory board opposed the grant, but state officials who have control of the district didn't take the advice.

Newark's acting superintendent says the board said it didn't have enough information.

"We have to look at what's best for our students, and to say you don't have enough information, that's not enough to stop the process," said Deborah Terrell, the Interim State District Superintendent.

A process of reform that both Ms. Terrell and Mayor Booker say is vital for the survival of Newark's students.

This is just one million of Zuckerberg's $100 million gift.

There's no telling how or when the other $99 million will be spent.

Mayor Booker has already raised $44 million to match the Zuckerberg grant.

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