LBI School Budget Taxes Up 2 Percent

Some Towns See Tax Decrease
By GINA G. SCALA | May 08, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Ship Bottom — The Long Beach Island Consolidated School District budget presentation before a standing room only audience at the LBI Grade School focused on what the district hopes to achieve with the budget, which will raise taxes in three of the five member municipalities.

The total 2019-2020 tax levy approved last week is $6,606,067. The estimated per household taxes, based on a $500,000 assessed value are: Barnegat Light, $233.50, an increase of $3.50; Harvey Cedars, $228.50, a decrease of $6.50; Long Beach Township, $253, an increase of $3; Ship Bottom, $242.50, an increase of $17.50; and Surf City, $222.50, a decrease of $32.50.

Chris Kelly, business administrator for the elementary school district, said the overall tax levy increased by 2 percent. She also noted nearly three quarters of the district’s budget is spent on instruction. The district lost $14,000 in state aid as part of the Choice program, but gained $2,000 in another area of aid from the state, she said.

Among the programs the district is looking to fund include a homework club as part of its after-school program, summer programs, a new parent notification system, and replacing Chromebooks for students, Superintendent Peter J. Kopack said during the April 30 presentation.

The proposed budget also seeks to fund improvements at both schools, including replacing the front stairs and windows at the Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School in Surf City. The school playground, located between Central and Barnegat avenues, would also be fenced in for safety, Kelly said.

Fencing at the LBI Grade School, located at 20th Street and Central Avenue in Ship Bottom, would also be replaced to something that is more aesthetically pleasing than the chain-link fence surrounding the 1960s-era school, district officials said.

The most significant cost, $1.5 million moved from capital reserve, is earmarked for major renovations at the LBI School, should the school board agree to move ahead.

“There’s nothing in writing that we’re doing it,” Kelly said, noting if the board decides against moving forward, the $1.5 million would be returned to the capital reserve account. —G.G.S.

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