OCEAN TOWNSHIP: The Ocean Township Board of Education's (BOE) appeal to block the Village of Loch Arbour from leaving the school district was denied on Friday.
On Friday March 24, Appellate Court Judge Amy O' Connor denied the BOE's attempt to appeal New Jersey's Commissioner of Education Kimberly Harrington's decision to allow a special election in the village to decide if an independent school system would be formed. It is possible that the students would ultimately end up going to West Long Branch. The BOE's request for a stay on the vote was also denied.
The Township of Ocean and the Village of Loch Arbour have been one consolidated school district for over 50 years, but a 2015 petition based on what Loch Arbour feels is an unfair amount of school taxes. The average assessed value of a home in Loch Arbour, a beachfront community, is over $1,000,000 and the village's tax levy is about $2 million. Currently, 14 Loch Arbour students attend the Ocean Township School District for a total of about $143,000 per student.
A majority of residents must vote to the leave the school for the April 4 special election question to pass.
Ocean Township has said that losing Loch Arbour would be large dent in the school district's budget.
"Should Loch Arbour be permitted to proceed with not supporting their public school system, this will create a gap in budget that will need to be addressed by increased taxes for all Ocean Township residents and/or decreased educational programs that can be offered," according to a January statement from the district.