BREAKING: BOE Approves November Referendum To Raise Taxes To Fund Transportation, After-School, and Special Education Programs

Lakewood’s Board of Education voted Wednesday evening to hold a public referendum in an attempt to raise $6,132,973 by way of taxation to fund busing and after school programs.

The referendum will be on the ballot of the elections to be held on November 5th.

If approved by the voters, it would allow the school district to offer various after-school public school clubs, courtesy busing and certain nonpublic special education services which were previously funded by the Township of Lakewood and the Lakewood Student Transportation Authority (LSTA). Starting with the 2019-2020 school year, the Township will no longer be funding those programs and the LSTA no longer exists.

Of the $6,132,973 which would be raised if approved by the voters, $1,487,501 of it will be allocated to funding after-school programs, $1,287,916 will be used to fund public school busing, $2,300,000 will provide nonpublic school busing, and $1,057,556 to fund nonpublic special education services.

The tax would come out to roughly $203 per household, depending on certain factors. The approval of the new taxes would result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy.

If voters choose not to approve of the proposed taxes, 2,965 public school students and 13,500 non-public school students would be left without transportation to school. Parents would need to either drive their children to school or pay for transportation themselves.

The Board of Education also voted to accept a loan of $36 million from the State, and approved the budget at least until November when the School Board elections will take place. The budget itself raises taxes on residents by an average of $67 per household. The $203 per household that would be raised from each household if the referendum is approved is inclusive of this $67 increase, which will occur even if voters vote down the referendum.

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  1. I sincerely hope all vote no on this tax. Our taxes are through the roof as it is. If individuals want courtesy busing, they are welcome to make the decision to pay. In Brooklyn, parents PAY for busing. Forcing thousands of others to pay for it isn’t fair! Same for after school programs. If you want to send your child to extra curricular activities – pay for it!

  2. We’re better off funding bussing on our own than approving a new tax hike. We pay enough for public school education we don’t owe anyone after school special programs.
    I hope the Vaad doesn’t support this for a quid pro quo somewhere else.

      • No, Wrong!.. The private school parents pay taxes! They don’t use the public school. Most of the municipa taxes go towards school. All they get is busing…

  3. Just wondering what do my taxes pay for…. If everyone in this town would send their children to public school the town would have to open a couple of new public schools. they should apply all their savings towards busing to private schools.
    And to answer the comment above: this tax is just to fund LSTA who will then still charge you $150. This tax is to cover the township’s bill so they can use your regular taxes for who knows what.

    • You do realize that enrolling in your children in public schools will require that they receive a secular and not a religious education, dont you?

  4. @ELI , that’s not true . Everyone should vote NO , this has to end . No Bussing , lets all carpool, this town will be shutdown from 730am till 11 am and the township will have no choice but to figure it out without us paying for it again . I pay $15,000 for a stupid 3600 sq foot house on a 6000 sq foot lot and they raised us two years ago and now they want to raise it again and just wait till they try pull off another reassessment !! remember when they sold us this garbage story of lowering the tax rate but then raised value ff all of. our homes even though 90 percent of us are here to stay and are never selling ? VOTE NO and lets see what our township officials do about it . SCHI and everyone else gonna have to cut some corners but I am done

    • The only thing you will do is make it harder. Everyone is paying more in taxes but Lakewood is the only town in Northern Ocean County getting anything from the state. There is no more money! It take $$ to run a district, and all the money is being siphoned to a special education system that is growing and into the bussing issues. Why do the non-private school parents have to pay for your children’s transportation? Why do the private school parent have to pay for the public school bussing? Why is your children’s tuition not including bussing? When I was in school years ago, my parents paid tuition for a catholic school for 2 of my siblings, the transportation was included in the tuition. Why is it now anymore? Why does the Lakewood BOE have to pay for private schools? That is the problem here. Public School systems should not have to pay for Private schools that is where the money is being drained to. So remember, even though Lakewood has over 150 private schools and only 5 public schools, there is a reason why the public schools are failing, because many of the board members that have kids in school, but how many are in Private school and getting public funding? that right there is wrong

  5. No more taxes. I could not afford after school programs and clubs, I did not expect everyone else to pay for it. I just did not send. There is plenty of money coming from the federal level for special education for non-public. We’ll make do with that. Bussing, it’s nice to get it for free and I have children that require bussing, I would rather pay for it knowing it’s approx $800 a year for each child than those extra taxes. Taxes are forever and there are always so many strings attached and so much talk about this bussing business, is it worth it? I work very hard for my money and I’d still rather pay for it even though it’s ore than the tax increase amount .

  6. I don’t see how this will ever pass when the majority of Lakewood taxpayers don’t use the schools, and can’t afford the tax increase.

  7. Maybe its time to end sending most of the class to special education trailers ,my daughters schools had most of the children going out of class to get help when its not needed and a waste of tax mmoney.

  8. Just vote NO! Instead of getting taxed rather pay for bus service and then maybe we’ll get proper stops and bus routes. The bus routes and stops get worse every year with many stops far from the students home. Every year its another story about why there isn’t funding for busing. If we raise taxes to cover ir this year then next year they’ll raise taxes again.

  9. If all the parents paid 150 per kid the LSTA may not have failed. Remember they refused to give the state of NJ the paperwork it required.

  10. For someone to say that after school programs aren’t owed to public school is silly. Public schools go 180 days a year to school. The boys schools in Lakewood go 240 days A year. The tax payers are paying for those extra 60 days a year. Half the so called schools do not even teach required subjects. How many private school buses do you see almost everyday at the bowling alley, beach and parks? Many many of them. That cost should be cut first. If the school isn’t to the low standard to state sets, why should that” school” get any money?

    • I think you should educate yourself before posting stuff…
      When you see a yellow school bus at a bowling alley or park etc. it is NOT being paid by public funds. Whoever arranged the trip pays for it privatly. you can call up any school bus company and charter a bus.
      the color yellow on a bus doesn’t denote its paid for by government…

  11. Enough! We need to learn how to live within a budget and not just keep spending money we don’t have. I will be voting no- I no longer feel that the leadership of this town has MY best interest at heart. they allow building with no plan. Let the builders be taxed more for each house they build to cover all these services. The township had a surplus for years- why suddenly are they cutting programs and raising taxes???

  12. Im confused isnt all the officials Republican in Lakewood and they wanna raise taxes? This cant be right i thought only liberals did that? Okay let blame Senator Booker or Governor Murphy that will be a great scapegoat even though they have nothing to do with Lakewood over building!!! MAGA

    • This is a local issue and they are looking out for the people that voted them into office, the Political party is unimportant here.

  13. Silly exercise in futility

    Everybody ,including the board members knows that this referendum will he defeated by 95 per cent to 5 per cent .

    Not sure why they are pulling this stunt again .

  14. The LSTA is dead and the state is not giving any moneys beyond what is legally required for a thorough and efficient education to Lakewood public school children. That being said, they cannot separate the question into different parts. Let’s bring the community together, some voters need courtesy busing, while others need clubs or special services. The bigger and diverse families that are in need the more likely it passes. Get out and vote if you need or want some of the services, special services for non public, courtesy busing, and clubs. The state is never going to be giving Lakewood the money for any one of those services again. You can bet on that.

  15. @Melinda Murray
    The public doesn’t pay anything towards the extra days of boys school. Nor are the private buses paid for by the public. All that is paid privately by the parents and the schools. That is a common misperception that I have no idea where it comes from.

  16. The extra 60 days of boys school is not covered by any public money. Nor is the private busing. It is always covered by the parents and the schools. There is no public busing or special services to regular ed students in the summer months.

  17. Maybe it’s time to have business people run the BOE. People who have worked hard running a business always do a better job when it comes to managing money. That’s why private people make profits and government always has deficits.

    • Business people have tried.
      you cant do anything more because the public school system in this country is run by the Teachers Union. (and there is nothing public about the unions… just look up how much $ the union bosses make a year)

  18. BTW Once the referendum goes down, courtesy bussing cannot be restored by the BOE even if they get they afterwards have the money, according the firm that rendered the legal opinion, even if Lang wins his case and the formula is fixed.

  19. @NJMom
    You forgot to add that not only do we the parents pay for the extra 60 days WE PAY THE 180 DAYS ALSO!!!! the majority of tax paying homeowners are non public school homes. WE PAY THE WHOLE THING!!!!

  20. If the proposal, referendum, ballot question is voted down, then those services, courtesy busing, clubs, and nonpublic services, cannot legally be funded by the board, township, or state moneys; loans or grant. FYI, there’s is a limited tax pool with limited legal increases; thank g-d. The smartest business minds and business people cannot make money appear through thin air, sorry folks.

  21. Heck to the no. Are you kidding me? Maybe if someone was not making 600,000 a year then this could be taken care of. Wow. I have no words anymore except I don’t know anyone in their right mind that would agree to foot this bill. Especially when my kids don’t go to school anymore and I am paying for their college education. Stop spending money you don’t have. Trump needs to come in and teach you all how to handle finances.

  22. We’re not asking them to make money appear through thin air. Where is all the money they save by not providing public school to all the private school children?

  23. Taxes are thru the roof already – they should be embarrassed to even suggest this, is there any fiduciary responsibility on the part of our officials????

  24. the cost of a hew house in lakewood is $116,000 this includes 2 and 3 family this was in the press 885 new construction permits cost $103.386,677 if you doubt this divide it out our neighbor toms river was $266,000 per slight difference maybe if we taxed the new construction the right amount we could get a tax reduction this appears to be some kind of major error to say the least or maybe some kind of racket ????

  25. the cost of a hew house in lakewood is $116,000 this includes 2 and 3 family this was in the press 885 new construction permits cost $103.386,677 if you doubt this divide it out our neighbor toms river was $266,000 per slight difference maybe if we taxed the new construction the right amount we could get a tax reduction this appears to be some kind of major error to say the least or maybe some kind of racket ????

  26. Mr vote no, You are making a false dichotomy, private school students are not saving the public school money. However, if nonpublic school students all registered in the public school then the boe financial crisis would drastically increase and the school district will have a larger annual deficit. Although the state has frozen certain fund, if everyone registered for public education then all Lakewood student will at least be recognized by the state. Currently, private/nonpublic student don’t exist for the state. Unconscionable, and unconstitutional, and hopefully Mr Lang’s lawsuit and now Mr Inzelbuch’s federal lawsuit will change it.

    • The Lakewood BOE is not a good candidate to reverse precedent throughout America making school funding in minority districts into a federal issue.

  27. I will vote YES, first off I am a renter who gets HUD, second off we cannot allow our non Jewish neighbors to think we don’t care for them as many of them are the children of undocumented parents who work very hard every day and cannot afford after school services. we must remember the Torah says to love the stranger as we too were strangers in Egypt.

  28. By law, the tax increase caps at 2% annually, from the year before a total. It does not make a difference if the township has more building and homes to tax. And, Since the school district is in deficit, it will automatically hit the cap before the state is obligated to give aide, grants not loans. But it’s capped, and the district cannot take anymore then 2% more then last year, and so on and so forth, copish, coprendo, understand. Done.

  29. In many single family homes in Lakewood there can be a few families living in it and all of them send their children to public school and get many extra services like esl and the like. How can Lakewood township pay for this when the taxes on the home is suppose to be for 1 family and not in some cases 4 families. Is there any way for them to monitor how many families are applying from the same address?

  30. BTW…just to fact check and check the misinformation…I’m pretty sure (from other news sources) that the estimated $203 per household assumes your house is appraised at $320,000!! Not sure how that is the “Average” with duplexes appraised at over $500k! In reality most of us will be paying MUCH MUCH MORE then the $203

  31. No one expects the public to pay for private school education. Private school parents pay tuition AND taxes to fund the public schools. There are Federal programs that the BOE is REQUIRED to pay for. Lakewood’s situation is unique because even though these services are mandated, the State doesn’t have the private school children on the rolls. Hence the funding lawsuits.

  32. Just curious, if no LSTA, who is arranging mandated busing for those over the 2 and 2.5 mile courtesy busing limit, is it BOE, another entity or is mandated busing also at risk?

  33. This increase is permanent, meaning if next year BOE can fund itself or state comes up with more money we will not get this increase removed!!!!

  34. We should enroll all private schools children in to public school system, just like they did in NY and Trenton will be very quick to fix the problem with buses and after school programs and formula…
    30k children x 11k is more than 12mil BOE needs now, will get the money same day, I am sure of it.

  35. A proper solution will never be achieved until the primary issue is addressed.

    When we factor the number of school age children, the vast quantity of private schools, the divison of boys and girls education and transportation and add in the number of people living per capita in Lakewood its apparent a change needs to happen.

    It’s up to the community to acknowledge this is not a sustainable formula and it’s up to the community to unite and build a better solution.

    Until you accept that fact stop blaming others for a problem that has no solution and start building a plan that does. Change is inevitable and starts with you.

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