Ethel Jacobsen School to Serve as LBI Board of Ed Meeting Place, Newcomers Take Office

By Gina G. Scala | Jan 08, 2020
Photo by: Gina Scala

Ship Bottom, NJ — The LBI Consolidated Board of Education meetings are on the move. Beginning Jan. 21, the meetings will once again be held at the Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School on Barnegat Avenue in Surf City. The meeting opens to the public at 7 p.m.

Marilyn Wasilewski, the veteran board member elected to serve as vice president at the Jan. 2 reorganization meeting, made the motion to move the forums back to the E.J. School. Board meetings had been held in the media center at the E.J. School until June 2018, when it was decided to move them to the LBI Grade School, 20th Street and Central Avenue in Ship Bottom.

Newly minted board President Colette Southwick said one of the prevailing reasons to move the meetings back to the E.J. School is the acoustics in the media center at the LBI School, which made it difficult for board members to be heard by the public without the use of microphones. Even then, board members and other district personnel had to speak directly into the microphones to be heard.

Board members Eileen Bowker, William Fenimore and Georgene Hartmann voted against relocating the meeting place to the E.J. School, while a majority of the board voted in favor. Board member John McMenamin was absent.

The reorganization meeting saw the installation of two newcomers to the school board: Brielle Hoffacker, representing Long Beach Township, who outpaced veteran member Bonnie Picaro in November’s election, and Frederic J. Schragger, the sole Harvey Cedars representative on the board. Schragger garnered 46 votes as a write-in candidate from Harvey Cedars to fill the seat left by former board president James Donahower, who ran as an Island representative on the Southern Regional school board. Wasilewksi also took the oath of office, for her new three-year term as the Barnegat Light representative.

Later, the board approved the results of the Dec. 10 special election, which saw a majority of voters in five Island communities rejecting a $7.68 million referendum to renovate the LBI Grade School. The official results from the county clerk’s office showed 1,283 ballots cast against the improvement project for the LBI School and 488 votes in favor of fixing up the 1950s-era building. A total of 1,771 registered voters cast ballots. With all seven districts reporting Dec. 10, the votes against were tallied at 1,237 and votes in favor were 476; that did not include absentee ballots.

The Jan. 21 school board meeting will jumpstart the district’s strategic plan with the help of Kathy Winecoff, a field representative from the New Jersey School Boards Association.

“NJSBA’s collaborative fee-based strategic planning service can help you develop and implement a plan to effectively target your efforts and resources to move your district forward,” according to the school board association’s website.

The NJSBA also provides a basic planning service for dues-paying districts that includes helping districts identify their strengths and weaknesses; targeting critical issues; prioritizing and implementing annual goals and objectives; identifying appropriate roles and responsibilities; and creating a process for monitoring and evaluating progress.

— Gina G. Scala

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