Loch Arbour voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted in support of a special ballot question that would end their educational ties with the Ocean Township school district. In a 93-to-4 vote, voters approved the following ballot question: “Should the Village of Loch Arbour withdraw from the Ocean Township School district and form a separate school district which would enter into send-receive relationships with the West Long Branch School district for grades K-8 and Shore Regional School district for high school?”
The ballot was expected to be approved since it would radically lower the school tax rate for the average home in Loch Arbour by about $11,700 annually but perhaps increase it in Ocean Township by about $200 for a house assessed at $400,000. Ocean Township will now lose about $2.1 million in annual revenue from Loch Arbour.
Mayor Paul Fernicola said that 72 percent of the village’s 135 registered voters casts ballots, with 96 percent of those voting in favor of the ballot question.
The Ocean Township school district still has a case pending in the Appellate Court challenging State Department of Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington’s original decision, posted on Dec. 22 of last year, allowing Loch Arbour to have the special ballot to begin with.
Ocean Township school officials recently said that they will continue challenging the ballot question, with Business Administrator Kenneth Jannarone saying that allowing a ballot to remove Loch Arbour from the school district is a “bad decision” by both Harrington and the court.