Ventnor and Margate School Budgets. Commissioner Meeting Transparency.

Ventnor Commissioners Landgraf, Holtzman, Kriebel.
Ventnor Commissioners Landgraf, Holtzman, Kriebel.

View: Ventnor School Salaries
View: Ventnor School Budget


Did you hear about the Ventnor school budget hearing last night, Wed, April 11? Most of us didn’t. Matter of fact, 99% of Ventnor taxpayers did NOT attend this meeting that discussed spending upwards of $7.5 million on school investments over the next 5 years.

Makes you wonder why Ventnor and Margate haven’t merged their schools yet.

We’d venture to guess that close to 100% of part-time residents were not in attendance. (2nd homeowners that pay 75% of the taxes with no voting rights)

This is why Ventnor Commissioners should throw a bone to 2nd homeowners…..AND…. to locals who can’t make it to meetings due to work and family commitments.

Here’s what ya do: Spend a few bucks, record the meetings, post the audio to YouTube. Just like Margate, AC & Brigantine. Easy. Cheap. Effective.

Here’s a few, potential Ventnor school expenses and fun facts you may have missed:

  • $1.15 million for HVAC replacements
  • $250,000 for gym floor repairs
  • $1.35 mil for bathroom upgrades
  • $960,000 in athletic fields upgrades
  • $1.6 million for sprinkler system upgrade

The Ventnor School district had 719 students in 2015. Enrollment slipped to 688 students as of October 2017. Ventnor estimates that number will drop to 675 in Oct 2018.

Margate has only 368 students as of Feb 2018.

During a Margate public comment, it was noted that Margate has 3 kindergarten classes, with barely 10 students each. There’s also a Margate pre-K with just 2 students.

Margate taxpayers spend a whopping $32,000 per student…per year in tuition. When combined with teacher salaries averaging close to $90k + benefits, there’s been a growing call for Margate to consolidate their 2 school buildings, Tighe & Ross.

Ventnor taxpayers spent $15,703 per student in 2015. The proposed cost per pupil for 2018-19 in Ventnor is $20,627.

Mayor Holtzman acknowledged to former Downbeach Current writer / blogger (Ms. Nannette Galloway) that school enrollment is not going up.

Mayor Holtzman: People are not coming to Ventnor because taxes are too high. Enrollment is going down and families are going to move out of Ventnor.

Yikes.

How can elected Downbeach leadership provide better transparency to all taxpayers? Just follow the lead of Margate and Brigantine.

Margate City is still the only Downbeach town that records and quickly posts the audio from all Commissioner meetings…online. Margate also posts audio from planning board meetings too.

Does Ventnor leadership think taxpayers can attend all the meetings at City Hall?

‘If Ventnor residents want to keep up with local issues, and chime in, they should come to the meetings.’ That’s what Ventnor Mayor Beth Holtzman told DownbeachBUZZ a while back. We hope Mayor Beth has changed her mind about that.

Busy moms & dads, and taxpayers that live elsewhere in the off-season, don’t have the luxury of attending Ventnor commissioner meetings.

Cost and technology hurdles are no longer an issue. YouTube provides free & easy hosting of meeting audio/video clips. To date, Ventnor leadership has yet to adopt these common tools. Step by step plans were offered, but have yet to be implemented.

Let 75%+ of Ventnor taxpayers follow municipal action via the Internet. We recall the current administration promised that while campaigning.

What do YOU think? Join the conversation. Leave a comment below.