Mayor: E.J. School Property Would Be Used for Recreational Purposes Only

In the Event of Building Closure
By Gina G. Scala | Nov 15, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Surf City — Should the Ethel A. Jacobsen School be shuttered in the future and successfully returned to the hands of the borough of Surf City, the property would be used for recreational purposes only, according to Mayor Francis Hodgson.

His comments came during a presentation by LBI Consolidated School District officials on the $7.68 million referendum to renovate the LBI Grade School at Wednesday night’s borough council meeting before a standing-room-only crowd.

The future of the E.J. School and how the property would be used going forward is the biggest concern for those wanting to dial back the school board’s decision to go to referendum next month. It was a theme from parents, many former students, at a special meeting in August where the referendum and plans to relocate students from the E.J. School to the LBI Grade School were discussed.

“I want to go on record that the E.J. School (property) will be for recreational use only and won’t be built on,” Hodgson said,

In the 1960s, Surf City officials deeded roughly 2.9 acres to the district for a school.

“This conveyance is made subject to the provision that if it should be determined by the Board of Education that the above described property is not to be used for school purposes, the Borough of Surf City shall have the option to repurchase the land for a sum equal to the sale price paid to the borough by the Board of Education, plus interest thereon at the rate of 4 percent annum from the date hereof,” the June 22, 1962 deed reads in part.

In October, the board agreed to temporarily suspend a June discussion to develop a plan that ultimately called for closing the E.J. School if the referendum was passed and once renovations were complete, effectively putting to rest all discussions about consolidation until after the Dec. 10 special election.

Roughly a decade ago, when school board elections were still held in April and the public was still asked to approve or reject school budgets, the LBI Consolidated District budget was defeated. As a result, there was a $400,000 budget cut and subsequent recommendation to consolidate the elementary schools to counteract the funding loss, as well as adapt to a declining school-age population. Since then, every board has spent a considerable amount of time and money on plans for the eventual consolidation of all staff and students into one building.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the school board is Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the media center at the LBI School in Ship Bottom. It starts at 7 p.m.

— Gina G. Scala


Comments (1)
Posted by: Mark B Vizer | Nov 22, 2019 08:08

Who is going to police this? How long will this agreement last?


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