Klein boosts Fordham Prep’s scholarship program

Senator Jeff Klein sponsored a bill to help finance new science labs at Fordham Preparatory School. Klein joined Father Kenneth Boller and Alejandro Jimenez (back, l-r), Gjovalin Gegaj and Dylan Moses (front, l-r). Photo by Victor Chu

Thanks in part to Senator Jeff Klein, some 20 students will attend Fordham Preparatory School on scholarship. Thanks in part to Klein, those students will twirl test tubes and ignite Bunsen burners in new Fordham Prep science labs.

On Thursday, September 17, Governor David Patterson signed into law a Klein-sponsored bill that will grant Fordham Prep a tax-exempt loan via the New York State Dormitory Authority (NYSDA). Usually, only public schools are eligible for NYSDA loans.

Klein thought that Fordham Prep merited help from the state for its $9 million science lab addition. Prior to the addition, there were 960 students in a building meant to hold 750. So Fordham Prep added a fourth floor – six new science labs, a music room and a greenhouse.

The addition was completed in August but Fordham Prep administrators thought they’d need to slash scholarships in order to pay back a bank loan. It was Klein to the rescue.

“We need to do everything possible to help the education system,” he said. “Fordham Prep is one of the top schools in the city. One hundred percent of Fordham Prep grads go on to college.”

The NYSDA loan will save Fordham Prep $150,000, the equivalent of some 20 scholarships. The school has promised Klein it’ll use the money for that purpose. The economic crisis has hit Bronx parents; Klein wants Fordham Prep to be an option for bright students, rich and poor.

Fordham Prep is a science powerhouse. Although the state requires that high schools offer two years of science, Fordham Prep offers four years. 40 percent of Fordham Prep students benefit from financial aid, Klein said.

The science lab addition is part of a $23 million campaign at Fordham Prep. The school has remodeled its third floor. Fordham Prep boasts nine science labs.

“Tax-exempt financing…is only available to Fordham Prep through [NYSDA], and is the essential element of the school’s strategy to provide first-class facilities and instruction while continuing to provide broad access to its program by providing substantial levels of financial assistance,” said Carol Purcell, Fordham Prep treasurer.

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