What Happens If ...

Dec 04, 2019

To the Editor:

Predictably, some people react badly to facts when those facts don’t line up with their opinions. Let’s put aside our differences for a moment, however, and take a peek into a hypothetical not-so-distant future. In this scenario, the Dec. 10 bond referendum to repair and renovate the LBI School has failed.

That is where the hypothetical portion of the not-so-distant future ends because, if the referendum is defeated, here is the reality: Within just a little over two years, LBI voters will have rejected repairing, renovating and expanding the E.J. School and they will have rejected repairing and renovating the LBI School (expansion is not mentioned because the building can accommodate all district students now without it).

That means – even before Surf City’s formal bid to purchase the EJ School was in play – that there would be no clear long-term plan about how students are going to be accommodated and educated in the LBI Consolidated School District. We will just be sitting here, glaring at the other side, muttering under our breaths and pointing fingers.

More reality: Gov. Murphy has been very clear that roughly half of New Jersey school districts are targets for consolidation. LBICSD is on the list. The New Jersey Department of Education is already moving forward, issuing grant money to school districts that are studying the best way to keep their school district alive by making changes. We will, unfortunately, not be one of those proactive districts if the December bond referendum is defeated.

Gov. Murphy and his supporters cannot consolidate almost 300 school districts all at once, but they can pick off the low-hanging fruit – the districts with no plan, the districts that are running a deficit budget, which is the situation in the LBI district right now. On the other hand, we might have a good shot at continuing to educate our LBI pre-K through grade 6 kids on LBI if we can show that we have a plan and a way to get ourselves out of a deficit situation by shrinking into one school, regardless of whether the E.J. School sale goes through or not.

If we can show that we have a plan and a way to execute it, maybe the DOE will focus on less enlightened districts. Step one, though, is the bond referendum passing. If it doesn’t, we will realize too late that glaring, muttering and pointing fingers were all a waste of time that we did not have.

Ella Throop



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