• MARGATE – The Board of Education has received an unqualified audit of its finances. According to Carol Kiniry of Ford-Scott & Associates, LLC, the annual audit turned up no findings or recommendations.

    “The district office as a whole is proficient,” Kiniry said on Nov. 12. “Controls you have in place are working. Susan (Palaia) runs a tight ship.”

    Kiniry told the board that auditors often find little things when they conduct audits and make suggestions for streamlining operations to staff as they go along, but there was nothing major to address.

  • VENTNOR – The Board of Commissioners introduced an ordinance Thursday, Nov. 20 that would offer tax exemptions for certain property owners who make improvements or build anew.

    Officials are hoping a tax incentive would spur new construction that complies with new flood elevation standards and help the city improve its FEMA flood insurance rating, which would equate to discounts for residents on the cost of flood insurance.

  • CAMDEN – A federal court today issued a temporary restraining order to stop the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Army Corps of Engineers shore protection project in Margate.

    The order came after Margate filed a legal suit in U.S. District Court to stop the state and Army Corps from building sand dunes on the city’s beach.

  • TRENTON – Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced Nov. 20 that Ventnor City would receive a $501,000 grant to restore historic City Hall. The building was one of four in Atlantic County selected for Sandy Disaster Relief Grants for Historic Properties to fund the preservation, stabilization, rehabilitation and repair of New Jersey historic structures that were damaged by the storm.

    Other Atlantic County structures awarded grants include Fire Station 3 in Atlantic City, which received $338,289, Fire Station 2 in Atlantic City $205,649 and Gateway Playhouse in Somers Point $102,400.

  • MARGATE – Local firefighters and EMS workers who routinely arrive at drug overdose calls are now carrying the life-saving antidote, naloxone.

    Chief Anthony Tabasso made the announcement at the Nov. 6 Board of Commissioners work session meeting.

  • MARGATE – City Clerk and Tax Collector Tom Hiltner will resign from both positions Jan. 1 and receive $260,000 payable in installments over the next two years as part of a settlement reached in his whistleblower lawsuit against the city.

    Under the agreement, the city will also give Hiltner $12,000 a year for the next eight years for health insurance, and pay $50,000 in attorney fees to Jacobs & Barbone, his attorneys.

  • MARGATE – Despite differences of opinion regarding the dunes issue, the Board of Commissioners Nov. 6 agreed to uphold the wishes of the voters and proceed with an effort to stop the state and Army Corps of Engineers from building sand dunes on the beach.

    Congratulating the advocacy group Margate Citizens Questioning the Beach Project, which lobbied to fight the dunes project, Commissioner Brenda Taube said she would join Commissioner Maury Blumberg and Mayor Michael Becker in support of voters who passed a nonbinding referendum Nov. 4 that asked if they wanted the city to spend up to $200,000 in legal fees to try to stop the NJ Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps from proceeding with the project. The unofficial vote count was 1,140 yes, 1,091 no. Provisional ballots are still being counted. Certification by the Atlantic County Clerk is expected Monday afternoon.

  • VENTNOR – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has awarded $230,000 in Post-Sandy Planning Assistance grants to help the city become more resilient to storms.

    Mayor Michael Bagnell said the grants will help the city plan for the future after several years of struggling with the aftermath of hurricane Sandy, which flooded the city in October 2012.

Longport Board of Education approves sending-receiving relationship with OCHS

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Ocean City High School Ocean City High School LONGPORT – The Board of Education formally entered a sending-receiving relationship with Ocean City High School (OCHS) at its Monday, July 7 meeting, but at least two families still want to send their children to Atlantic City High School (ACHS).

Acting Commissioner of Education David C. Hespe issued a decision on June 6 saying there would be no substantial negative impact educationally, financially or on the racial make-up of ACHS if Longport withdrew and sent its nine high school students to OCHS instead. He approved Longport’s application for severance of its sending-receiving relationship with ACHS, subject to entering a new sending-receiving relationship with OCHS for a period of five years.

Representatives of the Ocean City School District, including Superintendent Kathleen Taylor and high school Principal Matthew Jamison, attended the meeting to advise parents about making the transition.

“We are excited about the opportunity to educate Longport students and are ready to offer transition services to parents and students,” Taylor said. “We have a strong, diverse academic program and the faculty is dedicated to making it work for your children.”

OCHS currently has 1,200 students and 1,480 seats available, Taylor said.

According to Longport Board of Education President Carl Tripician, letters were sent to parents of all high school and eighth grade students asking them to inform the board of their choice of high schools by June 24. Five out of nine incoming freshmen will be going to OCHS in September.

Tripician said all but two families indicated that they want to send their teens to OCHS. Any students currently attending ACHS may stay there or switch to OCHS, but until the board hears from officials in Atlantic City, it is uncertain if the two students will be accepted at ACHS.

“We are going to continue pushing the issue for these two families,” Tripician said. “We always wanted a dual relationship.”

He said the board would formally request that ACHS accept the two students.

Atlantic City Superintendent of Schools Donna Haye told The Current students could attend ACHS in September by applying for the School Choice program, which includes educational programming for fine arts, ROTC, radio and television production, music and visual and performing arts.

“We always had a wonderful relationship with Longport and the students did well here,” Haye said. “We were surprised the lawsuit to sever the relationship was brought.”

Longport students who previously attended OCHS through the School Choice program will now be considered as sending-receiving students, which frees up four choice seats for other students, Tripician said.

Because Longport has no schools of its own, it sends students in K-8 to Margate public schools on a tuition basis. However, many parents in the borough send their children to private and parochial schools.

Tripician said the Longport school board budgeted $19,800 per student for tuition at ACHS, but will save money sending to OCHS where the tuition is $14,597 per student. Although Ocean City previously received per pupil funding from the state for Longport’s School Choice students, the district will now pay OCHS tuition for those four students.

Tripician said he believes the Atlantic City Board of Education plans to appeal the commissioner’s decision, which will keep parents in suspense regarding the permanence of the sending-receiving relationship with Ocean City.

“They can appeal, but on what grounds?” Tripician asked.

An appeal could take up to two years, he said.

Haye confirmed that the Atlantic City Board of Education gave direction for its attorney to appeal, but could not confirm the grounds for the appeal.

Attorney Kim C. Belin was not available for comment.

“It’s a shame to sever a relationship when there are still parents in Longport who want to send their children here,” Haye said.

Eight parents attended the meeting to learn about the master schedule and programs available at OCHS, such as the community lunch program. All students have one 55-minute lunch period during which time they can work on small group projects, go to the library, study hall or engage in extra-curricular activities.

“We believe it contributes to a positive school climate,” Taylor said.

She explained that although there is no homeroom period, attendance is taken in each class, which makes it difficult to cut class without detection, she said.

Parents asked questions and were satisfied with answers provided about dress codes, parent access portal on the school’s website, school security, and if there is a late bus for student athletes. However, busing details remain undecided.

“Busing cannot be fully worked out until we have firm numbers,” Longport Business Administrator Jann Cohen said.

Parents who are sending their students to OCHS are asked to make an appointment with guidance counselors as soon as possible regarding class scheduling and health records.


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