BOE State Monitor Announces $2.5 Million Referendum would be Needed to Cover Courtesy Busing Deficit

clifton avenue busing tlsA $2.5 referendum would be needed to cover the courtesy busing deficit for the next school year – even if the schools would tier busing, the State Monitor Michael Azzarra announced tonight.

Azzarra says the courtesy busing – servicing the Jewish and non-Jewish private schools – would not receive additional state funding, and the schools would still need to tier busing to cover the costs.

Without the tiering, the deficit stands at approximately $5.5 million, as first reported on TLS last month, which means the tiering would only save approximately $3 million.

However, besides for the lack of funding issue, sources say the schools are extremely unhappy with the tiering aspect because it would require the boys to begin school at 8:30 AM, and the girls at 9:30 AM, thereby conflicting with the schedules of thousands of working parents.

The referendum would go up for vote in June, should it be approved.

Askonim are continuing to work on the issue.



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  1. Another tax. Time to enroll in ps all our 30,000 private students. The state will be a half a billion dollars in debt tomorrow. Then they will beg us to take vouchers to cover our tuition costs and the 2.5 million for safety bussing.

    Let’s finally do what’s needed.

    we could ask to have a bilingual Hebrew or Yiddish class. It’s done for other food.. Maybe it’s not a bad idea…free up a lot of families from the debt burden tuition is on out large families. In many other states their is vouchers and some tax credits for those who pay their own tuition or can’t afford to.

  2. the public school system cannot cannot have separate class rooms for boys and girls–this is the primary flaw in your plan

  3. @another tax

    Agreed it’s about time. What’s the big deal? Why not to enroll? It will help the state with their tax math. I would enroll today if I knew that a few thousand others will do the same.

  4. No need to send the kids there to make wake them up. Just enrolling thousands of children will make them find a way to shift some money around.

    As far as taxes, somehow mine went up around 10% from last year (assessment is the same) even though it is supposed to be capped at 2%

    quote from CBS

    “No other state asks residents to pay as much in real estate taxes as New Jersey, which has prompted Gov. Chris Christie to sign legislation in 2010 that limited tax hikes to 2 percent annually.

    But that’s not enough to keep homeowners in the state. Last year, New Jersey had the most outbound moves out of any state in the country, according to United Van Lines’ annual national movers study.

    The pain isn’t equally distributed across New Jersey, given that some towns have significantly higher bills than others.”

  5. What is the 10 year plan here? If every year they raise taxes to cover public and private school busing defict. For some hoomeowenrs it may cost less to pay direct for bussing.

  6. It’s amazing how chained down we are here . Literally half of my real estate tax bill is for public schooling. We in lakewood and surrounding areas are literally pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the schools here and they are squeezing is for a lousy couple million dollars. The BOE and whoever else is involved has to figure out a way to stop putting on band aids everywhere and seriously out some pressure on whoever is in charge state side to fix this broken system . Every year there’s a mother breaking story about this . Someone has to get to the bottom of this

  7. Just wondering, is it discrimination for a government authority to say that schools serving girls are obligated to start at a later time than schools serving boys?

    Seems wrong to me.

  8. Simple solution to cover courtesy bussing. If they would pass a law that only one family per legal address can get services,that would generate / save enough money. It used to be that by the time you had kids in school, they were living in a house that generate tax revenue. Now people are staying longer in illegal basements and still sending to schools. Forget about the costs if the kid needs special services. Also there are many families in public school living at 1 address (Usually illegally). So if they would force all basements to be legal (and taxed accordingly), that would generate money. And if they would only give services to 1 family per house, that would save money. Together that would be enough to cover any deficits.

  9. Why not enroll and then not actually send there?

    If thousands of kids enroll, the state has to give the money to Lakewood. If on the first day of school the kids happen to not sow up, that doesn’t require Lakewood to give back the money.

    The parents would be doing nothing wrong wither. They are entitled to enroll in public school, and similarly are entitled not to attend (with no action from a truancy officer since they are receiving separate private schooling).
    The only potential flaw is that the public school system can expel the kids for non -attendance but it would be in their best interest not to so that they can keep the extra funds allocated.

    Can someone explain why this wouldn’t work?

  10. Tier means having the schools start at different times to accommodate more bus routes. My children are entitled to busing, due to the fact that they live too far from their respective schools. This year the girls started later, and even now at the end of April they are still coming late to school almost every single day. I hope they find a different soIution, as I don’t see that the tier system is working.

  11. why are they picking on “courtesy” busing? and not on all the other “courtesy” services? eg. 1) athletics – it is not mandated that us tax payers have to pay for kids to play sports, gymnastics etc. 2) also kindergarten or early childhood – it isn’t mandated to pay for people to have a day care service below school age kids… why are they constantly picking on the one service that affects the majority of the taxpayers of this town? aside from the fact that for the majority of taxpayers, busing is the only service they are getting for their tax dollars. canceling busing would affect the safety and quality of life of the entire town. morning and afternoons would be impossible to navigate with 10’s of thousands of kids being carpooled. – so i suggest they put up a different referendum to vote – courtesy busing or courtesy services (athletics, kindergarten etc.)

  12. The official enrollment count for public school state aid occurs each year in October. Enrolling but not sending students to schools will not mean more state aid for Lakewood.

  13. Going to a voucher system would free up money we could spend on busing in a way that’s fair to all. Private school parents would get a voucher to attend private school and part of it could be used for private busing.

  14. Be prepared for NJ testing in grades. Time devoted for preparation should consume a great deal of valuable teaching time.

  15. By the way a few myths
    1) very few states offer school vouchers. I believe Wisconsin is the only one. Before we say many states offer vouchers its just not true. The overwhelmingly majorty don’t.
    2) Courtesy busing is a privilege. Our brothers in passaic don’t have courtesy bussing and they survive. So perhaps a little pain is worth it.
    3)While the cost per public school kid is currently 17k per child many of those costs are fixed costs. (like pensions, & health benefits for retirees. These are legally bound unless you declare bakruptcy)) I am not sure that enrolling all our kids in PS will bankrupt the system a sit won’t cost 17k per student any more. And it won’t solve the courtesy bussing issues as pblic schools also will not get courtesy bussing without a tax increase.

  16. The State is broke. State aid funding for municipalities has been flat lined for years. The monies they get will be close to the same as they received in the past years. The State has made this perfectly clear to all Boards of Ed including Lakewood.
    Therefore, if you enroll your children in public schools the Board of Education, and we the Lakewood taxpayers will have to come up with the funds:
    1 to pay for the teachers and the support staff, janitorial, food , ect. and their benefits, health and pensions for at least a one year contract.
    2 To buy books and educational supplies for all the new students usually again by contract.
    3 To rent space or trailers to house these new students under least a years contract and to outfit them for educational purposes,sewer water lights computers, another non refundable expense.
    4 And if there is not enough space found in #3 Lakewood would be required to outsource these children to districts that would accept them. The average cost for doing this is roughly $10, 000 per student which would have to be paid by Lakewood, not the State. This fee would be paid if the student attended the accepting district for the entire year or ONE DAY.
    5. And then there is the cost of arranging for and transporting these students to their new districts, paid again by the Lakewood taxpayers. The nearest districts which seem to have space are Howell and Deal and they don’t have to accept outside students, but suppose they do, more expenses covered under contract.
    So register your students in the public schools, the resulting tax increase will make the money required to continue courtesy busing seem like pocket change. And remember Lakewood taxpayers will be totally responsible to fund either scenario.

  17. Maybe the NYC model should be looked into, where the yeshiva can have their own buses and get paid a set amount per eligible student, which saves the state millions of dollars they used to pay to the past to the unionized companies

  18. Why couldn’t you just vote for the referendum and against the budget? The referendum has the power of state mandate and couldn’t be cut. The cuts would have to come from the other non-mandated items.

    Just wondering.

  19. In the past east ramapo has hosted separate boys and girls classes in its public school. I believe it was in the freshman center. If I recall it was a huge success. Grades improved exponentially.

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