BREAKING – FIRST REPORT: Courtesy Busing Will be Eliminated Unless District Raises $6,000,000 [UPDATED]

school bus lkwd tlsIn a move that shocked the Board of Education this evening, it was learned that the State Monitor intends to eliminate courtesy busing for Lakewood, unless the district comes up with approximately $6,000,000, multiple sources confirm to TLS.

The shocking announcement comes just months after a deal was brokered between the schools and district that restored the busing based on a tiered system – which was also partially supplemented by the Township.

The courtesy busing will be cut February 1, 2016, unless the funds are raised through a special referendum vote in January, officials confirm.

“The Board of Education calls for a special election of the legal voters of the Lakewood School District on January 26, 2016 for the purpose of raising additional taxes for the 2015-16 budget and authorizes administration to notify the board of elections of its intent to do so,” the resolution stated. “These taxes will be used exclusively for non-mandated transportation services.”

Approval of these taxes will result in a permanent increase in the district’s tax levy.

“These proposed additional expenditures are in addition to those necessary to achieve the Core Curriculum Content Standards. The estimated amount of additional taxes is $6,000,000 subject to adjustment as costs are finalized.”

However, based on the fact that there is no termination clause for the bus companies, the Board attorney stated that he does not see how the State can back out of the contract they signed.

UPDATED 10:07 PM: The Board unanimously rejected the resolution, and it now remains in the hands of the State Monitor.



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  1. After we just voted to give the public school children 35 Million dollars towards brand new state-of-the-art HVAC systems in all the buildings, among other luxuries they will be enjoying. This referendum is a no-brainer to approve.

  2. To all you who have not voted Thank You!
    Your choice not to take 10m out of you’re busy day so we all will pay
    With out a strong vote we as Tsiber look very week in the eyes of the politicians we could have hade easily 15,000 votes instead we had 6k. Don’t blame the schools

  3. the problem is that if we agree to raise taxes with a referendum then next year when the cost of courtesy bussing is higher , (more kids in school) they will make us vote to raise taxes again and again every year. We cant start giving in! We have to reject the referendum and let the state/BOE/township deal with the ramifications of no busses, and believe me they dont want to deal with it! They are hopeing we fall for it and pay for it ourselves so they dont have to come up with a solutuion.

  4. To Common Decency : Are you serious?!?! Luxuries in the public schools?? Have you ever stepped foot in any of the elementary schools? They are falling apart..and far from luxurious. Don’t speak of things you know nothing about.
    I pray this does not pass…I’ve lived in Lakewod for over 30 years and my taxes have been rising at astronomical rates for the past few years.

  5. Every time this comes up I wonder, why don”t all the schools have there own buses? we are loosing more by getting busing from ‘grant/tax’ money. Taxes would be lower and parents can give those savings to the schools for busing. The cost of having our own buses is a lot less than our tax hikes. with 6M can get you 500+ (used) buses with 2M left for drivers and upkeep. and this 6M is besides all the hikes from the past.

  6. I haven’t had busing for my kid all ear and I am beyond the courtesy limit. NO MORE TAXES. It seems there is a special referendum every year to raise taxes and nothing is ever resolved.

    The only guarantee if you raise taxes.. is that you will pay more taxes. This is a failure on every level. the taxpayers have no more to give, and no one to trust.

  7. what is considered courtesy bussing? how close and for what age? what do people do if they don’t get couresy bussing? are there any options besides for loading all your kids in the car to drive your child to school and thereby missing the bus for your children who do have bussing? can someone please advise. i live 1.5 miles from my son’s school so he can’t walk.

  8. this is insane & purely out of acceptance from the community to accept. taxes are high enough already.

    how about this from the BOE & Township. remove bus services & lower our taxes and the entire town agrees to do private busing. lets see what you can answer to that BOE.

  9. The state monitor is playing cat and mouse with us as his direction homes from the state of nj. He has made too many disparaging remarks about our community and clergy. He knowingly threatned coed bussing all the while knowing it would never logistically work. All to create a tumoil to get his agenda. The fact that the private school students which are the majority would lose many hours of classroom instruction was not his concern.

    It’s time to make trenton pay up. The only way is to enroll all our children in public school. The bill estimated to be 15,000$x25,000 students will bankrupt the state over night.the demographic makeup of the schools will create riots. And we will prevail with being offered vouchers paid to our choice of schools. The private schools and their students who arw legal citizens have saved billions for the state. It’s time we stand up to being over taxed. The group that complained about the boe and the private schools forgot that whatever the private School looses in busing so does the public schools.

  10. I thought our kehilla won big this last election !! Didn’t all our endorsed candidates win their seat ?! I’m not sure why we face elimination of our busing now. Terrible.

  11. Where are Singer, Keen, Rible ect. didn’t we just reelect these people to serve us, Lakewood?? How about our good friend Chris Smith, Can’t he work on a state level for Lakewood?

  12. Wow! What happened now? Did Mr. Azzara have a bad day or something?? I mean, didn’t they come to a permanent agreement after all that hard work and many weeks (maybe months)of effort? It is ridiculous what little we get for paying THE MOST taxes in the entire United States. Time to move, let them take Lakewood back to what it was in the 70’s. All they will need is more police officers, no buses!

  13. Can someone please post the Boe budget. It just doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t add up.
    there is so much more property taxes these days. I don’t understand.
    My kid doesn’t have bussing this year. I say vote for a buss voucher and arrange our own bussing.

  14. I am extremely upset with BOE and the State Monitor. There still many people don’t have bussing and yet we work so hard trying make money as the same time suffering. Why are we paying taxes to state where they don’t give us the right to bring in the children into good education and having bussing. The truth is the State doesn’t care about us and if BOE doesn’t get something right this time. There will be big protest. I want every parents to Write to the State without bad wording. Something to express proper matter of showing how bad this going cause the Community and the Traffic without the Bussing. We could have disaster traffic in town. The Traffic will be 1 or 2 Hours delayed to get to school because of this. I still don’t understand this situation. But if so We need to Protest and show our right of paying taxes to the governments. This is horrible idea the State got to turn right into right direction and not off the hook. State is not helping with the Busing and going mess up Lakewood and other township by doing this … I appreciated if someone agree what I am saying …

  15. Stop the building!!!!! Can you imagine what it will cost next year . The builders should have to build schools in the developments. That would solve a lot of the bussing . Students could walk to school.

  16. Dear mr state moniter,
    if you would be so kind as to inform the public what you have done, if anything, to get the state to reconsider how much our BOE receives from the state while the state receives an enormous amount from our absurdly high taxes and gives us back almost nothing! that is the core of the issue!

  17. (moderated) no to approving this tax increase. It’s just another way to get their hands in your pocket. Let the kids either walk to school or their parents or others can drive them.

  18. Why don’t we actually enroll our children in public school. Let’s band together and actually do it. It will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.

  19. I live in Jackson.
    If busing gets cancelled Gd forbid ,will my kid be the only one on the bus ?

    All kidding aside, why don’t we give a tax credit to anyone with a child on busing , cancel the courtesy busing program and each child just pay the school or bus company directly, that would totally work and all this nonsense each year would go away .
    The schools would control when the buses go , who goes in which bus etc.
    Some staff may lose jobs in BOE but the taxpayers would save overall
    who really stands to gain with all this growths lakewood anyways
    The Yungerleit can’t afford the rent
    The middle class can’t buy houses
    Traffic is a nightmare everywhere
    Schools are packed
    And the BOE bus situation is a nightmare
    So like who’s gaining from all this lakewood expansion ?

  20. I still don’t understand why the state isn’t giving more money to Lakewood. I have NO kids in school. My taxes are sky high. It is outrageous!

  21. To chana: I guess you’re not in the business, but I am (auto business) and I see busses go all the time for even less the 8k many times more like 4k-6k. Full size school buses 02-06 with under 100k miles, busses from 2000 with around 90k miles go for around $3k. I calculated based on the more expensive busses and wrote +

  22. I think we should do away with bussing. We would be much better off having each family, neighborhood and/or school taking care of it on their own.

    Why are you not posting about the major robberies that are taking place daily in lakewood?!

  23. I agree. Our representatives should give up updates as to the specific interventions they are doing with situations like this, or can’t blame people for getting upset.
    Our taxes are out of control. It’s not right to ask people to pay more. I would be curious to hear what the Gedolin would say as to the threat of putting the kids in public school and seeing if the state “magically” comes up with the money.

  24. One new development = 50 homes @ $15,000 taxes per home = $750,000, Eight new developments = 400 homes @ $15,000 taxes per home = $6,000,000. And i think we have about 4,000 new homes in Lakewood. And no bussing???

  25. I am confused. I was under the impression that public schools are funded by property taxes. Most homeowners in lakewood are jewish and their kids dont go to public schools. so, how come lakewood public schools, which educate a small number of children compared with the town’s population, how come their public schools are not the best oin the nation? what do they do with all that property tax?

  26. To chana: I guess you’re not in the business, but I am (auto business) and I see busses going for even less than 8k, usually 4k-6k, I chose the more expensive amount and wrote 500 ‘plus’. Full size school buses 02-05 with under 100k miles go for around $6k. There are schools that have there own buses, why don’t all schools have.

  27. i think the scoop should print this article with all the comments from the last few times a similar article came up. this way everyone can save time by not repeating the comments that have been said again and again over the last 2 years!!

  28. I’m very upset at what the state monitor is proposing. I would’ve been even more upset had I voted this past election. This just shows our ppl in BOE are overruled by Mr Azzaraa. And so, in 2015 I pd over $11,000 in property taxes, and all I get are Whole wheat lunches which my kids dont eat anyway and bussing, for now. And its STILL not enough. Gotta love big government, man.

  29. I hear that the bus routes are totally inefficient and kids are waiting after school for 40 minutes for a bus. There are not enough bus companies interested in the contracts, and it would certainly seem that the schools that have their own buses can do a better job.

    But of course the solution has to come from changing the funding formula at the state level. The amount of funding is based on the number of children in public school, not on the number of families paying taxes whose children in private schools need basic services.

    Another problem, though, is instability. If you’re a bus company owner, you don’t want to invest in more buses because you may not get the contract next year. Special Ed services are like that too.

    Maybe if there were multi-year contracts there could be time and money saved as well.

  30. no money for busing but there is 6000 dollars for laura winters to take a doctoral course at Walden university. look at item 61 on yesterdays agenda

  31. Can anyone explain to me why they do not change the busing to groups to make it more affordable by having all the kids going to schools in a certain area on one bus. For example they can have a bus 4 Raintree that goes to the Oak Street schools. This will eliminate many of the long bus routes and cost. I understand that the schools play with the starting and ending times in order to avoid this however I don’t understand why we don’t pressure the schools and therefore save the taxpayers money.

  32. to #4 you can’t be serious!!! you really want the children to go to school with no heat? that is not a luxury. when the HVAC systems needed updating years ago there was never any money for it . it has been a problem for many years. some classrooms in the spring would register at over 95. in the winter the heat could be pouring out of the registers or no heat at all. you should be ashamed!

  33. Its time for our Askanim to lobby the state they should reconsider the formula how to aid local districts, and Lakewood should get their fair share.
    And if it doesn’t work, we should be prepare to bring out our kids to Trenton and show them that we are serious.
    As of now Lakewood is getting less help from the state than many district, because we have a large private school enrollment.
    Isn’t that the reason why everyone agreed for the monitor?.
    We need the Agudah, OU and the entire Jewish population in NJ, to make it a single issue vote for the next few election cycles, and yes it will yield results.
    The way the district is composed of as of now, it will only get worse, and if we don’t act now, the issue will come up in a few years for Mandatory services.
    The state monitor already declared that we don’t have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem and that is only in the states power to fix.

  34. Commenter Of course makes a very good point. Lakewood should have school districts or zones for all students in one area. This would solve…more than one problem.

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