Unneeded Space

Sep 20, 2017

To the Editor:

As a member of the Surf City Land Use Board, I attended a presentation by Joseph Di Cara, LBI Board of Education architect, on Dec. 6, 2016. The meeting reviewed the proposed additions and renovations to the Ethel A. Jacobsen School in Surf City. Subsequent to that meeting, a copy of the school board-commissioned “Demographic Study Update of August 2016” was provided. The study used data from the five towns that are part of the LBI Consolidated School District.

The BOE demographic study used historical and projected student enrollment, as well as birth data from the New Jersey Center for Health Statistics. After applying two statistical methods of analysis, the study’s conclusions included the following:

• “In general, PK-2 enrollments have been getting lower in the last ten years.”

• “Births have declined from a high of 42 in 2003 to 27 in 2013.”

• “In 2020-21, enrollment is projected to be 208 students which would be a loss of 25 students from the 2015-16 enrollment of 233.”

Why does the BOE want to spend millions of taxpayer dollars adding capacity to the E.J. School when its own commissioned study of historical and projected student enrollments, as well as births, show that all are declining?

The study also stated that each of the E.J. and LBI Grade schools has a current capacity of 250 and 256 students, respectively. The entire school district now only has a total of about 230 students. Why then do we need eight new classrooms and a second gymnasium added to the E.J. School?

If the referendums pass and the additions and renovations are done, the new E.J. School will have a student capacity of over 400! Where are those students coming from? Why spend millions for a declining student population? Based on the BOE-commissioned demographic study analysis and projections, we should vote “no” on both referendums.

Alan N. Mannherz

Surf City

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