Wrong Word

Sep 18, 2019

To the Editor:

In regard to Nancy Spark’s letter announcing her candidacy for the LBI Consolidated Board of Education, a few corrections need to be made:

She states that the “C” word (consolidation) is the issue. Consolidation is the wrong word. The correct “C” word is CLOSE. A clear message was sent by the public that we need to focus on the needs of the students, staff and taxpayers, by not closing the EJ building.

Many conditions have changed since the time Nancy attended board meetings on a regular basis. Student enrollment has dropped considerably, but not enough to house the current student body in either one of our buildings. Over the past 10 to 11 years numerous assessments of the LBI buildings have been made by professionals, before and after Superstorm Sandy. The LBI Grade School building now needs extensive and expensive renovations: the roof, the constant water undermining the building’s pile system, an inefficient and ineffective HVAC system, not to mention the inadequate outdoor space for student activities. One report, from LAN Associates, dated 2010, indicated that the “LBI building is at the end of its life span ... a major structural renovation is required to protect the building from an inevitable destabilizing condition.”

At the time of the 2017 referendum, not all of the board members supported it, however the majority ruled as to what the referendum should contain. The residents of three of the five towns indicated that it was too much money. It was not a mandate on which school should be retained. The current board has reflected on that and has moved, by the vote (5-4) at the last meeting on Aug. 23, not to move forward with the latest proposal, which was to spend $7 million to renovate the LBI building. It is more prudent to invest the public’s money in a building that does not have the perpetual problems plaguing the LBI building. The riparian water that runs under the building will always affect the structural integrity of the LBI School.

The LBICSD is again at a crossroad. One road could lead to a structurally sound building with a small addition to accommodate the district’s programs, those which are both in and out of the “four walls” at the EJ School. The other road will cost the district millions of dollars both in the present and in perpetuity due to the constant water wearing away the pilings under LBI School as well as a restrictive outside environment for our student body.

Mrs. Spark indicates in her letter that “I would like to be seated to listen, get facts and return some harmony to the board, as it was before I was unseated.” Since her failed bid for re-election in 1999 there have been hundreds of meetings she could have attended to keep up with the major issues, yet the minutes of those meetings do not indicate she participated in more than a few.

The voters of Barnegat Light know that I do put in the “time to do the proper research into what is the best path forward” and will continue to work diligently for the constituents of Barnegat Light as well as the LBICSD. Please continue to support me as you have in the past to help the school district meet the needs of the public as a whole.

Marilyn Wasilewski

Barnegat Light





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