Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Association

Keeping Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Informed!


The Long Beach Island consolidated school district is a K-6 elementary school district that
serves the towns of Harvey Cedars, Barnegat Light, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and
Surf City. The district consists of the Long Beach Island Grade School (LBI School) in Ship
Bottom and the Ethel Jacobson Elementary School (EJ School) in Surf City. The LBI School
was built in 1951 and occupies land fully owned by the district. The EJ School was built in 1968
and occupies land donated by the Borough of Surf City with deed restrictions that will revert the
property back to Surf City with a limited compensation to the Board.

In 2010 when the school budget was voted down, the mayors of the five served towns asked the
Board of Education to commission a study to investigate consolidation from two schools to one
school. The Board of Education commissioned LAN Associates, a multi-disciplined architectural
engineering firm to investigate the consolidation and in 2011 their report recommended
consolidation to one school at the newer EJ School site with additions to accept the additional
students. The construction cost for the additions would be paid for by selling the LBI School

In 2015, at the recommendation of the mayors, Owen, Little and Associates, an engineering firm,
was commissioned to further evaluate the condition of the two schools.
Based upon the two reports the Board, at a special meeting in June 2015, presented a cost
analysis of the following three scenarios:

  1. Selling the LBI School and adding to the EJ School.
  2. Selling the EJ School and adding to the LBI School
  3. Repairing both schools and continuing to use two schools in the district

Due to the higher value of the LBI School property and the requirement for more extensive
repairs to the older LBI School the consolidation at the EJ School site was the only scheme that,
if the LBI School was sold to a developer, would not require additional funding at the time of the

The two professional education administrators in the district, the Superintendent and the EJ
School Principal, both have stated that the consolidation to one school will be best for the
students and the Education Association (teachers) also have supported the consolidation. Both of
these entities have nothing to gain from consolidation and in fact one of the administrators will
not be needed with one school and fewer members of the Education Association will be needed.
According to the Board’s numbers the consolidation will save the district over $360,000 annually
in salaries and maintenance costs.

A possible complication has arisen which affects Ship Bottom, where the LBI School is located.
A good part of Ship Bottom governing body’s rejection of selling the LBI School property is due
to fears that the developer of the site may be required, by New Jersey affordable housing laws to
provide almost 200 affordable housing units which, it is conjectured, could be a cost burden to
the Borough of Ship Bottom. To that end the governing body there has issued a resolution to the
Board of Education stating that they want the LBI School to continue operating as a school
facility. In the Spring of 2016 Ship Bottom, at a meeting with the Board of Education and the
Mayors of the five towns that send students to the District, offered to buy the LBI School. They
submitted a final bid that was considerably lower than the estimated property value. The Board
also requested a resolution from the governing bodies of the five towns supporting the sale of the
property to Ship Bottom. Only three of the five towns submitted resolutions.

Starting in August 2016 several cost estimates have been presented by the Board’s architects and
financial consultants for construction of additions and improvements to the Ethel Jacobsen
Elementary School in Surf City. Estimates have varied from $16,000,000 to the final amount of
$18,353,411 to be proposed in the Referendum Questions on the ballot in the Special School
Election on September 26, 2017. There will be two Bond Proposals proposed in the Special
Election, one in the amount of $14,579,176 for additions to the E. J. School and one in the
amount of $3,774,235 for improvements to the E. J. School.

Based upon the cost of 20 year bonds it is estimated that the annual cost to an average
homeowner in the District ($600,000 assessed valuation) will be $55.00. That annual amount
will be reduced by the money derived from the sale of the LBI School in Ship Bottom, the
savings in operating cost from consolidation ($350,000 to $450,000 per year) and State Aid from
the State of New Jersey ($1,600,000).

Ultimately the consolidation will be better educationally for the students and will save tax dollars
for tax payers in the district. More information can be found on the Long Beach Island School
district web-site www.lbischools.org. Click on “Referendum” and view “FAQs”.

The Harvey Cedars Taxpayers Association supports the Board of Education’s decision to
consolidate to one school on the EJ School site.




Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] A summary and point of view provided by the Harvey Cedars Taxpayer Association […]


Tell us what you're thinking...