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Sea Bright Voters Will Help Decide Fate of Proposed Oceanport School

SEA BRIGHT: Borough residents will be asked to approve the building of a new school in Oceanport through a Dec. 8 referendum.

The Oceanport School District is where Sea Bright children in grades K-8 attend classes.

The referendum question will ask Oceanport and Sea Bright residents if they support the construction of a new middle school at the Wolf Hill School site and the retrofitting of Maple Place School to turn it into an elementary school.

Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long said many people in Sea Bright "are not yet aware" of the referendum and its maximum cost of $33 million.

"The state could contribute $12 million, leaving a balance of $18 million for the taxpayers of Oceanport and Sea Bright to bear over the next 20-30 years," Long said. "They intend to split this $18 million according to a share of 92 percent Oceanport, 8 percent Sea Bright," Long said.

At 8 percent, that would leave an annual debt service of about $80,000 for Sea Bright resident, which breaks down to $6.55 per month for the average assessed home valued at $367,300.

"We can anticipate that the monthly increase will be significantly more for most of our homeowners," Long said.

Long said Sea Bright officials are still working on verifying the cost estimates.

"I believe not all the details of the project have been fully fleshed out in terms of what the actual cost is going to be for the two projects, they have to relocate two schools-worth of children...during the time of construction."

She said there are costs associated with refurbishing the facility to get it ready for the children and that some of the details have not yet been "fleshed out."

The former home of CommVault, a data protection company located on Crescent Place in Oceanport, has been tabbed as the temporary home for children.

Long said she understands the need for a new school but said she still has questions about the project.

"As a parent of a child in the Oceanport School District, I can definitely attest to the fact that both of those schools need some serious help, but it feels uncomfortable and uncertain for me personally at this point to have such little detail and support for the numbers we have been given so far," she said.

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