Education Update from Vic Staniec

The trial for ex-Ocean City Athletic Director and Vice-principal, Dr. Christine Lentz began on September 25. She was accused and arrested for tapping into the e-mail server of Ocean City School Superintendent, Dr. Kathleen Taylor. It is believed that Dr. Lentz was attempting to gain information on upcoming contract negotiations between the Ocean City School Board and the Ocean City Administrators union.

Dr. Lentz was allowed to resign from her positions, where she was earning $132,000.00 per year. If she is convicted, it is possible that she may have to forfeit her future pension. Dr. Lentz is 54 years of age.

Jury selection was completed on September 26 and because of the many motions that were filed in court, Judge John Porto predicted that the trial might not be completed before December. Mikenzie Helphenstine, who was a curriculum supervisor at the time of the incident, but has since returned to teaching in the primary school, requested immunity in return for her testimony. This request was rejected by the Cape May County prosecutor, who stated that there is a possibility of obstruction of justice.

In the upcoming November election, there are three current school board members whose 3-year terms will expire. They are:

Board President, Joseph Clark, and board members Cecilia Gallelli-Keys and Michael James. Since no one else filed petitions to run, these
three current members, who have all chosen to run again, will be re-elected for 3-year terms.

The 2017-18 school budget calls for a small tax increase which will average out at about $5.00 for the average Ocean/ City home owner. The state recently revised its school funding program and after all the budget were approved, Ocean City was one of only two school districts in Cape May County to receive an increase in its allocation. The increase amounts to $17,000.00, which technically should be returned to the tax payers since we had a tax increase. As it will cost $16,200.00 to rewrite and re-file the budget, it was agreed that the extra $17,000.00 will be deposited in a surplus account to be used in next year’s budget.

The city has agreed to waive the rental fee for allowing the Ocean City High School swim teams to use the pool at the Aquatic and Fitness Center.

The intermediate school has received a $4,000.00 state grant to start an after-school yoga program for interested students

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