The Ocean City Board of Education on Wednesday (Aug. 27) voted unanimously to approve an agreement to accept students from Longport at Ocean City High School as part of a new sending district.
Ten students from Longport are expected to attend Ocean City High School when the school year starts next week.
David Hespe, acting commissioner of the state Department of Education, ruled earlier this year that the Longport Board of Education can terminate its long-standing sending agreement with Atlantic City High School.
Longport shares Absecon Island with Atlantic City, but Ocean City High School is closer to the borough and the Ocean City School District’s tuition would save Longport about $9,000 per student. Longport had appealed to the state to allow the switch.
Longport will pay Ocean City $14,957 per student and pay for transportation costs. Because the number of incoming students is so small, the change does not require Ocean City to adjust staffing levels are assume new costs.
Four Longport students already were part of the “School Choice” program, and the new agreement opened up four slots to other out-of-district students on a waiting list.
The School Choice program, now in its third year, allows out-of-district students to apply to attend Ocean City schools — with the state paying Ocean City $13,825 for each student. It has allowed the district to compensate for a shrinking school population and sustain programs without increasing taxes.
Total enrollment in the Ocean City School District fell from 2,248 in 2000 to 2,045 in 2010. The trend has been offset only by the addition of out-of-district students. Ocean City will receive $2.7 million from the state this year for School Choice tuition.
The Atlantic City Board of Education has filed a legal appeal of Hespe’s ruling, but a judge denied a request to prevent Longport students from switching districts while the appeal is being heard.