Wasteful Referendum

Sep 13, 2017

To the Editor:

Two Long Beach Island Consolidated District bond questions will be voted on in a special election on Sept. 26. The board of education is asking voters to approve $18.4 million for renovations and an addition to the Ethel Jacobsen School.

The proposed project and cost is exorbitant by any measure: cost per square foot, cost per student, square foot per student. A good reference is “20th Annual Construction Report” written by Paul Abramson, published by School Planning and Management.

There is no sound or sane reason to plow $18.4 million into a “cracked concrete building that has electric heat and is below base flood,” especially since there are three cost-effective options. One, keep both schools open at a cost to be determined but no more than a fraction of $18.4 million. Two, close E.J. School, move the students to LBI School at a cost south of $6 million. Or three, build a new state of the art, fully compliant school, designed for the actual number of possible students, saving in the neighborhood of 26 percent ($4.69 million), over the $18.4 million cost of the proposed addition. This assumes a 45,700-square-foot school, 250 students and a $300 per square foot construction cost.

This is not a pro or con school or student vote. As I have said many times, I support and appreciate our regional and consolidated schools, but I cannot support this wasteful referendum. I urge you to vote against this measure on Sept. 26.

Tom Tallon, councilman

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