Letters

Data Needed for Best LBI School Outcome

Nov 06, 2019

To the Editor:

Let’s be clear, a December yes vote to spend $7.68 million to repair the LBI Grade School is a vote to eliminate the EJ School. Why tear down a facility you just spent $8 million to repair?

We all know school consolidation makes economic sense, but the data from which an informed financial decision can be made has not yet been provided. What financial data?

A. The cost to repair the LBI School, currently estimated at $7.68 million, is all borne by New Jersey taxpayers even if some of the money comes from the state.

B. Don’t estimate the cost to upgrade the EJ School. Prepare a document defining exactly the improvements to be made and get bids from qualified contractors.

C. Don’t estimate the amount of money the school board will get for the sale of the EJ School: land, buildings and non-transferrable school contents. Prepare a document defining exactly what is being sold and get bids from qualified developers.

D. Don’t estimate the amount of money the school board will get for the sale of the LBI School: land, buildings and non-transferrable school contents. Prepare a document defining exactly what is being sold and get bids from qualified developers.

I believe these three documents could be prepared and the proposals received within the next eight months.

Just imagine, if the amount of money received from either C or D above exceeded the amount needed for A or B above, the tax burden wouldn’t even occur and any excess money could reimburse the municipality(s) that initially helped pay for the schools. The above A through D data would make the financial decision easy.

But, finances aren’t the only factor impacting the decision on which school to eliminate. Others are, as a minimum:

1. What is best for the school children.

2. Emotional attachments to either school.

3. The potential negative or positive impact on your neighborhood of the removal of a school.

4. Student transportation to and from school.

5. Political pressures on the school board.

The first four items are personal family impact decisions. The last item is of concern. I hope that the final decision will be made in the best interest of the children and the taxpayers, but without all the financial data, that can’t happen.

Robert Wilding

Harvey Cedars

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