Time to Change Course

Dec 04, 2019

To the Editor:

The LBI Consolidated Board of Education has for over 10 years been fiddling (rearranging) with how best to educate our children in a positive and safe environment and at a fair and reasonable cost to the taxpayers. After numerous studies and millions of dollars spent, a plan was submitted in 2017 to the taxpayers from the sending municipalities for a new and expanded E.J. School in Surf City. This plan included consolidating all of the children, pre-K through 6, into one location. That plan was soundly defeated by over a 2 to 1 margin.

That referendum defeat was followed by elections that changed the makeup of the board. The new board has once again proposed a different (rearranging) plan to consolidate all the children into one school building. This time, it would require performing the long-overdue maintenance on their existing, much larger, LBI School in Ship Bottom. This plan also includes making enhancements to the building, hence improving and extending its usefulness well into the future.

Unlike the E.J. plan two years ago, which was described by the then-board president as a “moonshot,” the LBI School plan gives students, teachers and staff a building they can use continuously without the need for expensive rental trailers during construction and renovations. The cost of these renovations and improvements will be less than half the cost of the previously defeated referendum.

What really concerns me, and the reason I’ll be voting “yes” on Tuesday, is that while some of the BOE and various well-meaning groups have been proposing “moonshots” and employing scare tactics regarding the reliability of the professional engineering estimates to rehabilitate the LBI School, they are acting just like those on the Titanic who kept rearranging the deckchairs instead of changing course away from the iceberg dead ahead. In our situation that would be the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey has already started its multimillion-dollar studies not just to consolidate, but to regionalize school districts throughout the state. LBICSD and Beach Haven are on their published list, as are most coastal districts that have for decades supported their schools with taxes mostly from seasonal owners who’ve had no say in how their taxes were allocated.

Let’s get this referendum passed and get our LBI School back into action so our children and buses stay on this side of the bridge.

Although I am president of the Brant Beach Homeowners Association and sit on the board of the Joint Council of LBI Taxpayers, my comments in this letter are my personal thoughts. They are not sanctioned or approved by either organization.

John Fiore

Brant Beach






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