Cape May County counsel Jim Arsenault said he filed an action Sept. 19 to have a judge decide who will pay for the Dec. 9 special election on whether to dissolve the Lower Cape May Regional School District. County Clerk Rita Fulginiti informed Cape May it would have to bear the cost of the special election because they asked for the referendum. Cape May appealed to the county counsel, who has sought a determination from Super Court. The state Department of Education announced that a special election on the dissolution of the Lower Cape May Regional School District would be held Dec. 9 for Cape May, West Cape May, and Lower Township. Cape May requested a referendum on keeping or dissolving the LCMR school district as part of an effort to lower school taxes for Cape May property owners. Cape May property taxes fund 35 percent of the district’s budget, while sending just 5 percent of the students.
At the Sept. 16 Cape May City Council meeting, Deputy Mayor Jack Wichterman said historically the regional school districts have borne the cost of these special elections. Arsenault said those were cases in which all parties wanted to dissolve the district.
Wichterman said the city’s position was if they support 35 percent of the school district’s budget they should only pay 35 percent of the cost of the special election.
Arsenault said the parties discussed the matter during a Sept. 10 conference call before he filed for a declarative judgment last Friday. “As expected, nobody has changed their position,” he said. “Cape May is willing to pay a share but no one else is willing to pay anything, or had the authority to agree to pay anything.”