In a wide-ranging on-air interview, Atlantic City Board of Education Member John Devlin has revealed many of the behind-the-scenes details regarding the Stockton University Rowing program recently leaving Atlantic City for Brigantine.

First, it was Stockton’s desire to remain in Atlantic City following the recent expiration of their 3-year lease agreement with the Atlantic City Board of Education.

Stockton waited throughout January and until February 17, 2022, for the Atlantic City Board of Education to offer a new lease agreement.

Stockton simply couldn’t wait any longer, with their rowing season about to begin, they moved out of the Atlantic City Boathouse on February 18, 2022.

Devlin confirmed today that a text message “straw vote” took place on Wednesday, February 16, 2022, at 7:58 p.m. Each board member was asked to vote yes or no as to whether Stockton University would have permission to continue using the Atlantic City Boathouse.

This vote should be a matter of public record, however, the results of never been publicly revealed. Although it’s apparent that a majority of the Atlantic City Board of Education voted not to allow Stockton to continue its use of the Atlantic City Boathouse.

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Devlin remarked that there was a regular meeting of the school board the evening before the straw vote and the issue of Stockton University and the boathouse was never raised.

In 2019, there was going to be a trade where Stockton would have taken ownership of the Atlantic City Boathouse and the Atlantic City Board of Education would take ownership of the Carnegie Center.

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Devlin confirmed that former superintendent Barry Caldwell abandoned the discussions with Stockton University regarding this potential trade.

Prior to this, Stockton University had paid for a significant amount of assessment work, in pursuit of trading for ownership of the Atlantic City Boathouse.

It would have been a great trade, according to Devlin, the Atlantic City Board of Education pays approximately $500,000 per year in rent for administrative office space.

This is despite the fact that the ACBOE still owns two unused school buildings, according to Devlin. Devlin has also confirmed that the Atlantic City Board of Education, a.k.a. the taxpayers of Atlantic City, have paid millions of dollars in rent for more than 20 years.

The Atlantic City Board of Education has also spent an exorbitant amount of money making certain leasehold improvements over the past 20 years for the rental space.

Devlin also criticized Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small and council president George Tibbitt for not stepping up and helping Stockton University to remain in Atlantic City.

Devlin outlined some of the many contributions that Stockton University has made to the Atlantic City Board of Education and the City of Atlantic City in general.

  • Mentoring of Atlantic City students.
  • Donated multiple boats at $20,000 plus each.
  • Oars and other Rowing equipment.
  • Ergometers.
  • Various maintenance and leasehold improvements.
  • Fuel.
  • A summer rowing program for underserved Atlantic City youth.
  • Direct assistance programs provided throughout Atlantic City.

Devlin broke a blockbuster and said that he had spoken with the Atlantic City public school superintendent in La’Quetta Small about this issue.

Devlin confirmed that Small told him that they were currently negotiating with Stockton University to bring them back to Atlantic City.

I reached out to Stockton University, who advised that no one from the Atlantic City public school system or the Atlantic City Board of Education has been in touch with them regarding this matter.

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