Vision for Future

Oct 04, 2017

To the Editor:

It is unfortunate that the LBI school referendum was defeated by a wide margin. I applaud those who voted yes, putting our children first. They have a vision for the future. To the 1,100-plus who voted against it, particularly our politicians, I wonder would your vote have been different if you had children or grandchildren presently enrolled in our schools.

My husband and I attended the most recent board of education meeting. A major concern was the value and purpose of the Choice program. The parents of these children made a decision to send their children to our schools. They “choose” to give them an excellent education in a small community environment. We should be flattered that they want to do this. It is a compliment to the faculty and staff of both the E.J. School and the LBI School.

If nothing is done to increase the capacity of the E.J. School, young families will no longer be willing to make the sacrifice to live or move here, knowing their children will attend an overcrowded school. Not only will it jeopardize the future of these schools, but our property values will plummet.

LBI schools make LBI strong!

Kathie Cochrane

Surf City

Comments (1)
Posted by: Jean D Ragone | Oct 05, 2017 06:51

One really needs to research the Choice Program and analyze their district to weigh the benefits and downsides of this program.  If Choice school offers a unique program of studies such as exceptional special education, hard of hearing, specific course concentrations, etc., the choice school may well benefit. In these cases the choice school will pull students who have a strong need or desire to pursue these special accomodations that may experience fluctuations in student population.

A school that is not a Blue Ribbon school or that does not offer special concentrations does not usually benefit by participating in a Choice program. Instead of drawing students who need or desire a program concentration, the Choice School draws students from less advantaged districts. In doing such the Choice School may end up with lower overall test scores, division amongst the students and parents, and an increase to the Choice Schools local taxes. The “tuition” that the state allocates for each sending student is only the local “fair share“ portion. The sending district retains its tax contribution. This means that the Choice School’s local school budget must make up the difference.

When the number of out-of-district students is small, there is not a significant impact. But if the number of Choice Students entering the district is as high as the numbers mentioned for LBI, there could be a significant uptick in taxes as well as a huge impact on the community atmosphere of the schools.

Parents, voters and administrators must take into consideration exactly what their school has to offer, the number of students they will draw, why those students would choose the school, the short and long term financial ramifications, the school atmosphere they want to create or maintain, etc., to determine whether participating in the Choice Program as it is not a good choice for all schools.

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