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Voters to Decide on Borrowing for Primary School Project

The Ocean City Board of Education approves a special school election for March 11, 2014.

The Ocean City Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday (Dec. 11) to set a special school election for March 11, 2014.

The election will ask voters to approve borrowing to pay for part of a major renovation of the Ocean City Primary School.

The school needs a new roof, heating and cooling systems, plumbing and electrical systems, windows and doors. The estimated cost of the work is $6.6 million, interim School Business Administrator Mark Ritter said on Wednesday.

Voters would be asked to authorize a bond issue to pay for the balance of the project not funded by state grants.

Gov. Chris Christie announced on Dec. 5 that the Ocean City School District will receive $2,399,279 for school projects as part of $507 million in funding for school construction statewide.

But Ritter said Wednesday that the district has yet to receive confirmation from state education officials about the $2.4 million grant and about how the money should be applied.

The district faces two major capital projects: the $6.6 million Primary School project and a $2.9 million replacement of the heating and cooling (HVAC) system at Ocean City High School.

The state money would be used to reduce the cost burden to local taxpayers on one or both of the projects.

The balance would be funded as follows:

  • OCHS HVAC system: The district's capital reserve fund (with a balance of about $3 million earlier this year) would pay for the project scheduled for summer 2014.
  • OCPS renovation: The bond issue would pay for the project scheduled for summer 2015.
The public referendum had originally been targeted for September 2014, but Board of Education members decided that moving it up to March would allow the district to take advantage of low interest rates and construction costs.

In public comment, Fairness in Taxes member Vic Staniec said his organization supports the renovation of the primary school, which has not received any major upgrade since it was built in the 1970s.

But Staniec questioned paying $2.9 million "to improve an HVAC system that has never performed properly." He said the high school has had problems with its HVAC system since the school was constructed in 2004.

"The people who were responsible for this should have to pay for it," Staniec said.
Eric Sauder December 12, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Its really not fair to the tax payers to have to cough up the money to do over what wasn't done right in the first place. What that fund amounts to is taxes that were collected over an above what was needed.
Wyatt December 12, 2013 at 05:42 AM
Go ahead and vote for it lOCals, the second home owning shoobies will pay for the bulk of it, even though they don't use the schools.
Oceancity Resident December 12, 2013 at 06:49 AM
Wait a second!!! The high school is still practically a new building. Why does it need a new heating system already????
kathi December 12, 2013 at 08:20 AM
I agree with Vic Staniec
John H December 12, 2013 at 09:18 AM
It is sad to think that the HVAC system installed about 9 years ago in the new OCHS has already gone sour. What is even more unreasonable to me is that the terrazzo floors are filled with cracks and have been for a # of years - where is the quality control ? Don't we ever hold payment or have the ability to bring back contractors to fix problems ? I don't have a problem with the Primary School issues- they are overdue projects that need to be addressed. As a municipality we need to do a better job of inspecting contracted work upon it's completion to insure we are getting the quality that we are buying. A case that comes to mind is the repaving of Bay Ave. between Battersea and 6th St.- from the day it was opened it was like skiing on a roller coaster.
Avery Schlacter December 12, 2013 at 01:47 PM
wow this is crazy! I never thought I would hear of something like this. I was just looking for help on <a href="http://www.whmlv.com/Services/">plumbing in Las Vegas, NV</a> and this is what I came across.
Eleanor December 13, 2013 at 01:22 PM
It is disgraceful that this HS, the site of a big mold problem not long ago now needs a REPLACEMENT of the HVAC. After pushing this new HS through with the promise that it would be a draw to families, that a larger percentage of the student body would be coming from Ocean City - which never panned out - they didn't even oversee the contractors to make sure the work was done right? Anyone in Ocean City who wants to build a house has to go through all kinds of hoops and inspections - what's the deal?

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