The Republican candidates for at-large seats on the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders today congratulated the staff and students at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology for winning a 2008 Blue Ribbon Schools award given by the U. S. Department of Education and said the award ?offers additional and convincing support for the proposed expansion of the school.?

?It is a tremendous honor to achieve national recognition for top flight student achievement and dramatic academic improvement,? said candidates Tom Ballistreri and Manny Aponte.
?The school?s award-winning performance gives added weight to the need for the proposed $40 million expansion of its campus.?

Ballistreri and Aponte have been strong proponents of the building expansion project and recently urged the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) to allocate $12 million in authority funding toward its overall cost.

?There is no question that ACIT is an invaluable asset to the county and we are hopeful the CRDA will give its financial support to the expansion of the facility,? Ballistreri and Aponte said. ?The national recognition it has received is well deserved and a tribute to the staff and students there. Everyone involved can and should take a great deal of pride in this achievement.?

The award ACIT received goes to schools that achieve in the top 10 per cent of their states on state tests as well as schools with a high percentage of disadvantaged students who show dramatic improvement in test scores.

?It?s unfortunate that the expansion plans for ACIT were subjected to political gamesmanship by those who sought partisan advantage from the issue before it was approved,? they said. ?The national award should serve as an unmistakable sign that politics has no place in the discussion when children?s futures and quality education are at stake.?



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