Incompetent Decision

Aug 28, 2019

To the Editor:

By a slim majority (5 to 4), the LBI Consolidated Board of Education has voted to pursue closing the Ethel Jacobsen Elementary School and moving all of our 3- to 12-year-old students to the Long Beach Island Grade School. This is a mistake for many reasons.

At best, they are choosing the wrong school. Such a massive change to our education, our community, our Island should be approved by an overwhelming majority. It is far from it.

We have not seen any true analysis on property value from the board as part of this discussion. We live on an island, and land has much greater value than buildings. The EJ School is 50 percent larger in acreage than the LBI School (6 acres to 4). Yet, this slim majority of board members is for eliminating one school and picking the school that has a much smaller amount of land and is nearly 20 years older.

The LBI School is inferior to the EJ School in so many ways it is stunning, but they want to abandon it. Yes, abandon it.

We have not seen any public discussion/disclosure on the deeds for each property. Why would any concerned person advocate vacating a property that stays in the possession of our students and community only if it is used as a school? If we mothball the LBI School, it is still the property of the school system. If we abandon the EJ School, the deed states it is sold to the borough of Surf City for $64,000 plus interest. The land itself is worth $10 million.

There is a fiscal responsibility that, it appears, is not being considered. We all agree that this decision should be made in the best interest of our community, this island and our children. Vacating the EJ School is not in our best interest and is an incompetent decision financially.

Kevin Phillips

Barnegat Light


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