Sample Ballot for Long Beach Island School District Referendum Available Online

Voters Asked to Consider $18.4 Million to Fund Building Addition, Renovation
Aug 09, 2017

On Sept. 26, taxpayers in the Long Beach Island Consolidated School District’s five sending municipalities – Barnegat Light, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and Surf City – will be asked to vote on a two-question, $18.4 million bond referendum. A sample ballot for the special election is now available on the website of the Ocean County Clerk’s Office, at clerk.co.ocean.nj.us.

“A positive outcome of the vote will fund an addition and renovations to the Ethel A. Jacobsen Elementary School to accommodate all of the district’s approximately 230 students,” Laura Bishop, managing principal of Laura Bishop Communications, explained last month. “The Long Beach Island Grade School, which also serves the district, will be closed.”

According to district Superintendent Peter J. Kopack, moving to one building has been discussed by the board of education since 2010, when it was asked to consider consolidating the two schools to save money. “The board voted to consolidate into one building to enable us to continue to provide an outstanding education for our students, and maintain facilities within a fiscally responsible budget,” Kopack noted.

If approved, Question 1 of the referendum, for $14.6 million, would fund the addition to the E.J. School in Surf City: eight new classrooms, including a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) lab, an art room, student services offices and a gymnasium for school and community activities.

Question 2 – $3.8 million – would fund “essential renovations to maintain facilities and improve the overall learning environment for students, staff and community members who use the facilities for meetings and activities,” said Bishop.

Question 1 must be approved in order for the district to move ahead with the items in Question 2.

Bishop pointed out, “If both Questions 1 and 2 are approved, the average annual tax impact of the referendum on a home assessed at $600,000 would be $55 more per year. If just Question 1 is approved, the tax impact would be $43 more per year. This does not take into consideration, however, cost reductions realized through the sale of the Long Beach Island Grade School, debt service aid and annual savings of $350,000 to $450,000 from the consolidation. Those additional savings will reduce the tax impact.

“The LBICSD is eligible for $1.6 million in debt service state aid, which further would reduce the local tax share. The debt service aid only is available, however, if Question 2 is approved.”

The district does not yet have a time frame for the closing of the LBI School, in Ship Bottom, but Kopack said the school would remain open through the 2017-18 school year.

For more information on the proposed referendum, visit lbischools.org.

In order to participate in the special election on Sept. 26, residents must be registered to vote by Sept. 5. Voter registration forms are available online at state.nj.us/state/elections/voting-information.html, at the county clerk’s office or at the main offices of the E.J. and LBI schools. —J.K.-H.

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