Askanim Working To Have LSTA Funding Restored In State Budget

Governor Murphy’s recently announced revised Fiscal Year 2021 budget for New Jersey is missing one major piece of funding that is vital to Lakewood: funds allocated for the Lakewood Student Transportation Authority, better known as the LSTA. 

Some 39,000 Lakewood students rely on the LSTA for their busing needs, and Governor Murphy’s budget, which completely stripped out all funding for the LSTA, has now thrown the future of the LSTA – and students’ transportation plans – into question and turmoil.

Agudah’s Rabbi Avi Schnall told TLS that he and others are currently holding productive talks with Governor Murphy’s office regarding the funding cut.

“We were well aware that the funds would not be there for the LSTA before Governor Murphy released his budget,” Rabbi Schnall said. “These funds were cut as part of the governor’s attempt to streamline the budget as the state faces an unprecedented fiscal crisis due to Covid. We are currently engaged with the Governor’s office to reinstate the funds in the final budget, or to provide other avenues of funding for the LSTA. The Governor supports it and is very open to working with us. We are cautiously optimistic that when the new budget cycle begins, the appropriate arrangements will be made.”

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  1. Maybe we should all boycott the buses and transport our own kids for 1 day and see what happens to the traffic in Central New Jersey. And no carpools. And make sure not to drive too quickly. I remember the truckers’ strike in the 70’s.

    • Don’t worry about making sure not to drive too quickly. LOL
      that will happen on it’s own.

      Thing is, it wont mess up traffic too much more than just within Lakewood.

  2. This is not really the proper place to write this but I am very frustrated with the LSTA and their attitude. The LSTA is supposed to be helping our children with the bussing. As a klal organization, you would think they would do what they could to work with parents. If they couldn’t help, at least be empathetic to issues and not talk down to parents with real issues.

    My children have always had a stop not far from our house. This year, for some unexplained reason the bus stops in the area were all combined into 1 stop. This despite the fact that children now need to cross over busy streets to get to and from the bus stop and walk 5-10 minutes each way.

    Now, I would understand a little if it was needed to change the route for whatever reason and something needed to be adjusted. However, the bus route is the SAME as last year! In fact, the bus passes RIGHT PAST the previous bus stops. There is no reason they can’t run the routes as in the past with the same stops. Yet when calling the LSTA all you get is “we are not making any changes until after Succos”.

    The LSTA needs to be reminded that it’s purpose of creation was to help the parents and students – not to become another inflexible government type organization.

    • I strongly disagree with your sentiment. The LSTA has to create routes and deal with bids for them – for nearly 40,000 children! Not everyone can have their dream bus stop, and even if you were lucky enough to get it last year, routes change based on logistics and the changing students at schools. Even so, last year, I was able to request my son’s bus stop to be changed, and it was taken care of a few weeks into the school year.

      For an organization that has to deal with the needs of 40,000 students on a limited budget, while also always being under the threat of a cut budget, I think we should be expressing our gratitude, not letting our personal frustration cause us to bash them on a public forum.

      I write this as someone who has no connection to the LSTA besides for having children bused through them.

      • I strongly disagree with Yitzy, the previous parent was saying how the bus is passing right by the previous years stop – so no additional route times or whatever would be needed for the bus to stop there. And while I understand that some changes should wait until after Succos – it is ridiculous to make everyone wait until then without evaluating what their issue is. I personally had a terrible experience dealing with LSTA even when waiting until after Succos another year – like the previous parent stated if they were created to help the parents then at the very least they should express sympathy for the issue and try to work within their budget to resolve – especially when it is a safety concern for the child – I think that should come before changing stops for babysitters… or other non dangerous street crossing issues.

      • Thank you Yitzy for pointing that out. Your general point is correct. I do agree with you in general and did agree with your sentiment that they are dealing with a lot. However, they do not present that attitude when speaking with parents. That is one of my frustrations – that there is no line of communication and no oversight over them.

        My biggest issue however is something you touched on, and I mentioned in my comments. If they needed to change the route, I would not be thrilled, but would understand. However, THE ROUTE IS EXACTLY THE SAME!!! The bus passes right past our old stops, yet they combined everyone to 1 location instead of letting everyone stay where they were. We are just asking them to stop (where they always have in the past) and pick up the children as they drive past.

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