Board Of Education Members Split Over Splitting Lengthy Bus Routes

At the Board of Education meeting this past Thursday, there was a contentious vote whether to approve splitting routes that are over an hour, into two runs, TLS has learned.Board policy dictates that a child shouldn’t be on the bus for more than an hour. During the public meeting however, Transportation Director Gus Kakavas explained that the reason why these routes are too long is because the real time doesn’t match up to the time predicted by the routing software they were designed with.

Kakavas said the software says that the route will take 40 minutes, but with traffic the real time is sometimes an hour and half. Kakavas added that the department may work to tweak the software next year.

Additionally, Gus Kakavas said that the cost of splitting these routes is about $200,000, but he would still recommended it, Board of Education member Isaac Zlatkin confirmed to TLS.

Board member Mr. Zlatkin made the motion to approve splitting of the routes, while other members disapproved. Mr. Zlatkin pleaded with those board members to split the routes, saying it was unacceptable to have children ride on the buses for such a long period of time. Zlatkin explained that primary children who are on these overextended routes come home wet after being on the bus for such a long period of time.

Following the discussion, the board approved to split the Primary childrens’ routes by a small majority. 5 members voted yes, 3 voted no and 1 abstained. 

Three routes from local high schools however, had only 4 board members voting to split them.

For future problematic routes, some members suggested that the board eliminate some stops – either primary or high school routes – which would result in students walking a block or two to the nearest stop, thus consolidating the routes.

Gus Kakavas announced at the end of the meeting that the routes said to take longer than an hour, will be tested by Transportation Department, Zlatkin confirms to TLS.

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  1. what about the bus routes that do 2 shifts before the kids get to school? they are picked up a 30 minutes earlier so the bus company can make more money???? is that fair?
    What about in devolpments where kids from one family have to wait in 3-4 different spots for each bus route?
    We shodl care about teh kids, and the abilty for parents to watch the kids not for teh bus companies $$$

  2. its insane that our kids have to be on a bus that long day in and day out! i cant even have the patience to do come home and they cant function and do there school work and misbehave because of these long rides all over town!!!! we got to limit the routes asap for the well being for our children!!!!

  3. what about my kids who wait for the bus which comes late ever day and come late to school EVERY day ….
    i think bus companies should be fined if they dont hit specific time requirments such as the USPS has ,
    if @ 8:30 they need to be on forest and 6th then they have a 5 min window or be fined , after too many fines they lose the run

  4. I can’t believe the Mesivtos routes were not approved.
    My son has to wake up at 5.20 am to get to the bus since Shacharis starts at 7.00…..

  5. one time i was behind a bus in westgate and it stopped over 6 times just on hillside and picked up one kid each time. why can’t all these kids wait at one place and that would save some time.
    in all delevopments they should have a central stop for all schools and that would also cut the route time since the driver would go in stop at the one location and then continuie onto the next part of the route.

  6. If this is the way to keep the taxes down, then I would rather my taxes go up!
    Read between the lines. Next year the BOE will eliminate YOUR stop to save money.

  7. Can TLS please get Mr. Zlatkin to “confirm” which members voted against the interests of our children? Elections coming up in a few months………

  8. Thank you Gus! Year after year it’s the same children who have to absorb the long route, it never switches. My boys can be educated in Brooklyn for the amount of time they traveling year after year.

  9. There is nothing new in this article.
    This was a public meeting. Its time for people to start going to meetings before their busing will be taking away……

  10. The way this question should be framed is like this.
    Would you (average Lakewood homeowner) be willing to pay x amount more per year so that children should have shorter routes ?
    Can anyone out there provide the figures for X ?

  11. All board members seem to be in agreement that sitting more than an hour is unacceptable. The issue is more about just splitting the routes and adding extra $$ to the budget or perhaps spending a little bit of time analyzing if there is a better solution such as reviewing the actual route and making it more efficient.

  12. One of the routes is from my school. The route has been reviewed for over a month to try to shorten it and make it more efficient without success.

  13. At the least who ever sits on the bus In the am for an hour shouldn’t have to sit for an hour in the affternoon -the route should be reversed ??!!my 9 year old sits an hour there (picked up the 1st ) and an hour on way home (dropped off last !) In sane -school won’t do zilch !

  14. Thank you Greenspan Schwartz zlatkine Friedman and partially silver for looking out for our kids remember abstaining in this situation is a no…… special thanks to Greenspan who went out of his way to save this vote as he made clear by the meeting. Mr. ZLATKINE you are amazing keep up the good work.

  15. I am a school bus driver in Lakewood and there is a very simple solution. You can pay more taxes to have more buses on the road to reduce route times or you can consolidate stops and make the kids walk there little legs a little further to and from the bus. Private school routes average 1-2 children per stop with over 40 stops while public routes average 5-10 stops with bulk pick up/drop off. Public student walk several blocks to catch a bus while privates walk a few houses at most. A substantial amount of money could be saved and traffic/ride times reduced if stops on routes were reduced.

    To the parent who said routes should be reversed coming home, think for a moment about what your asking. The route takes an hour to get to the school, if in the afternoon the driver skips all the stops and drives a half hour to the first morning stop the route will now take an hour and a half for the child at the last morning stop. Is that fair that because your child sits on the bus an hour in the morning the other child should sit an hour and a half in the afternoon? As I tell the students when they complain they are last…someone has to be last and unfortunately it’s you.

    If every parent thought of the greater good of all of Lakewood students private and public then we could do bulk stops but the parents will complain that their precious child must walk an extra block and demand a house stop or closer corner and the BOE transportation will give in to the parent as always. If the BOE stood strong and tell the parents this is how its going to be and if you don’t like drive your kids yourself then we could save money, time and reduce traffic. Of course this will never happen because we live in a generation of its all about me and me not you and yours.

  16. I emailed the following to Mr. Andersen, the assistant superintendent, in 2008:

    “In 1999, I asked Irene Miccio why we got rid of our buses, and she said outsourcing was cost efficient. I never believed it. . . .We have over 20,000 kids. We can operate the buses and employ their drivers almost all day. . . . (I explained unique opportunity in Lakewood for multiple tiers). How is it cost efficient to outsource this? . . . A four million dollar investment will bring us one hundred buses (more money now!). So what if we have to provide benefits for the drivers? If we hire local people, there will be broad political support for this. Lakewood people need secure jobs with benefits. Keeping a driver working all day . . will be very cost efficient. Why should the bus companies get the windfall of our situation in Lakewood? We need to do a cost analysis. . . . . We need to lead and educate. I speculate that over ten years, we can save in the tens of millions of dollars. “

    In 1996, Mr. Kakavas testified before the Assembly Task Force on Courtesy Busing that the state needs to change the definition of remote transportation to “kindergarten, all bused; first to six, half mile; and seven through twelve, one mile.”

    So far, neither his recommendation or mine has been followed.

  17. Public school kids get the same stop as non public. please don”t make up a story. The computer does the routing…. it doesn’t know whether the child is public or non-public and nobody gets house stop unless they are impaired.

  18. to #22 my kids walk a block and a half and attend private school , maybe its has to do with area’s where children who attend public school live as not sure how many kids in westgate attend public school

  19. Westgate is not the problem.They are most cost efficent. Most schools make 3 to 4 stops fill up the bus and go to the school. There are buses that do 3 schools in 1 hours time.

  20. I agree with #22, put stops on the corners. As for making house stops, there is one across from my house and the child is not impaired, there are at least four stops on my street that could be moved to either end of the street, they stop in the middle of the block. Also there are stops at homes at different times of the week. Why does a bus drop a student off at 10:30 every night on my street? Seems like a late time to be coming home from school.

  21. When I grew up in brooklyn all our mothers took turns walking the kids on the block to main avenues Coney Island or Ocean Ave etc.. Why can’t lkaewood mothers do the same walk your kid to the end of the development instead of having the buses kriech into every development?

  22. #9 & #22 you hit the nail right on the head! bulk pickups need to be scheduled for each school! & to those who “claim” the bus stops are generated by a computer- you must drive around this town with your eyes closed! follow one bus, just one bus, and you will see them stop on every corner, in front of every house, for one child. you never see that with the public school kids. so stop complaining about the traffic & the accidents- its so bad here because parents dont want their chubby kids to walk a few blocks.

  23. Maybe Private Schools should become local schools like they did to the Public Schools, it would save a lot of time and money. And as far as splitting the routes, just what we need more buses on the roads.


  25. i to am a bus driver in lakewood and i can cnofirm what 22 says about private school stops. the stops may start the year out as cornner stops but are soon changed to house stops for any number of reasons.
    also if the town would makes all the develment streets one way a lot of time could be saved. finnaly if all the drivers in lakewood would observe all parking and driving laws routetimes would be less.

  26. My 8th grader tells me that on average, his bus drops him off 15 minutes early – and the building is locked. And my primary daughter’s bus has been thus far, nothing short of a nightmare. These are kids who have never been on school busses sitting many days for over an hour!!! And usually by this time of year there is somewhat of a settled schedule. We’re still waiting.

  27. #22, so reverse the route in the morning. No one says that you need to reverse the route on the way home… But your answer to the kids is not acceptable, that load should be shared.

    With regard to more busses costing more money, ofcourse it does, but so long as your providing any bussing you need to meet the demand. You cant say for example, it costs money for bussing so lets only provide 1/2 the town… 2 hours or 1.5 hours on a route is not an acceptable amount of time for kid, period.

  28. #22 and other bus drivers posted here. I meant to include in my first comment. Thank you for your dedicated service to our children. And thank you for your best efforts in being on time and doing what you do everyday to get our children to and from school safely.

    My comments are an attempt to portray another perspective but we are on your team!! All the more, we need to optimize, and to look at the status quo with a creative eye and to think and search for new ideas and solutions to new problems as they arise.

    Once again, from the bottom of my heart and all the parents I know,
    Thank you for what you do, day in day out.

  29. ^ Really #37 ?…..If you reverse the route in the morning you will end up with an hour and a half in the morning. So what did we fix with your solution?

    The whole argument is to reduce times not extend them by driving away from the school only to double back toward it. Stop orders on routes are written in order to do the route as safely, efficiently and quickly as possible. I stand by my statement and do not find it unacceptable…someone must be last and sometimes that person is you. It’s not spiteful or rude, it is a simple truth of life.

    Further as you state 1.5 to 2 hours is not acceptable. This is why consolidating stops and increasing walking distances to and from stops is important, it will reduce route times and costs.

    @ #25
    The computer may do the initial routing (which does provide more stops for public then private and I have 5 years experience and documentation as evidence to back me) however the BOE transportation dept appeases parents who call and complain by sending updates to drivers with stop changes. I had a route at the beginning of the school year with 27 stops off the bat. The BOE transportation dept sent 5 updates with 5 stop location changes closer to homes and 3 additional stops bringing it to a total of 35 stops and an extra 12-15 mins of driving depending on traffic. This route went from 45-50mins depending on traffic to about 65mins.

  30. The issue is not the length of the route but the traffic in Lakewood. If you think adding more buses to our streets is the answer you are dead wrong. You will not like to hear the answer so I will let you mull it over and come up with your own conclusions. Next year when busing is at 30 million and the problems haven’t gone away you will be the first to ask why our taxes are so high.

  31. We live 10 min away. But my kids have 1 hr busride they come home fit to be tide.
    And then the stupid teachers pile on the homework.


  32. my little kids sit on bus for around 45 min to hour and 15 min come home with accident in pants because they cant hold it in that long!!!!!!!!

  33. #22 and other bus drivers posted here. I meant to include in my first comment. Thank you for your dedicated service to our children. And thank you for your best efforts in being on time and doing what you do everyday to get our children to and from school safely.

    My comments are an attempt to portray another perspective but we are on your team!! All the more, we need to optimize, and to look at the status quo with a creative eye and to think and search for new ideas and solutions to new problems as they arise.

    Once again, from the bottom of my heart and all the parents I know,
    Thank you for what you do, day in day out.

    (I posted last night immed. following my first post, not sure why TLS didnt let it through.)

  34. Bussing should NOT be paid for by anyone other then the schools who can then charge more tuition to cover the additional expense. Its insane how u all feel this is something u have coming to you. I know u pay taxes but that would come down a bit with the elimination of the bussing.

  35. Shame to all of you who written on here belittling people. There is no need for name calling. The Lakewood Scoop is here for us to voice an opinion and perhaps share ideas on fixing or finding a solution to a problem. Not attacking some. # 42 pay attention here. actions like that quarentee to make the frum community to come accross as ignorant, obnoxious and insensitive. Also, nothing wrong with a little homework. It won’t destroy the childs brain cells.

  36. Our busing issue, as all others, will get more difficult every year as long as our elected leaders consistently appoint superintendents who have no other stake in Lakewood other than their job. For years, the Board of Education has avoided finding a homegrown administrator with political ties to the local community who would be able to strong-arm our disparate interests and who will use his connections and bully pulpit to bolster support for education, efficiency, and opportunity.

    Lakewood needs to stop “Waiting for Superman” and elevate an individual to the Central Office, one of its own, accountable to the people, a true Educational Czar, one man who will be accountable for ending our tuition crises, our state funding problem and make all our kids count. The Board is just a board, not a single member executive who can take control of our general welfare.

    Note that which John Stuart Mill wrote in 1861. “As a general rule, every executive function, whether superior or subordinate, should be the appointed duty of some given individual. . . . [T]here must be one person who receives the whole praise of what is well done, the whole blame of what is ill. . . . Boards, therefore, are not a fit instrument for executive business, and are only admissible in it when, for other reasons, to give full discretionary power to a single minister would be worse.”

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