LONG BEACH ISLAND - 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.”

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The move to one building has been considered by the board since 2010, when it was asked to consider consolidating the two schools to save money and provide a strong education for it's students. 

Question 1 of the referendum asks residents for $14.6 million, which would fund the addition to the Ethel Jacobsen School in Surf City which includes eight new classrooms, and art room, student services offices, a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) lab and a gymnasium for school and community activities.

Question 2 of the referendum for  $3.8 million dollars according to the LBISD website will fund renovations to the building.  These includes update the heating and cooling system, replacing aging ceilings, add and upgrade lighting for energy efficiency and replace aging electrical panels.

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

The district stated on it's website that 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.

Approval of Question 1 only, will mean $43 more per year on a home assessed at $600,000. Neither of these tax impacts, however, takes into consideration any reduction in cost realized through the sale of the Long Beach Island Grade School, debt service aid, and other savings that will result from the consolidation. Those additional savings will reduce the tax impact.

The district 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, but the Ship Bottom school will remain open this entire 2017-18 school year. ear.

There is a detailed explanation and additional information on the referendum, that can be found at their website lbischools.org.

To vote on the September 26 referendum, people 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 Ethel Jacobsen and LBI Grade School in Ship Bottom.