BREAKING: Toms River Board of Education Partners With the LSTA to Potentially Provide Busing for the Upcoming School Year

The Toms River Board of Education has voted to approve a resolution tonight to enter into an agreement with the Lakewood Students Transportation Authority (LSTA) for the 2024-2025 school year, allowing the consortium to potentially transport thousands of children to schools in Lakewood.

Under state law, all school districts in the state must provide transportation to public and nonpublic school students elementary school students (grades K-8) who live more than two miles from their school and all secondary school students (grades 9-12) who live more than two-and-a-half miles from their school are entitled to transportation.

However, if the busing costs exceed the state threshold, than school districts are forbidden from providing transportation, and must provide parents with the aid-in-lieu amount instead – which was the reality for the vast majority of Toms River children attending school in Lakewood.

But under a new law recently signed by Governor Phil Murphy following nearly a decade of advocacy by Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey Office, Lakewood Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein and others, the LSTA, which has managed the busing in Lakewood for the eight years, is no longer limited to Lakewood, and is now allowed to operate statewide.

Following the signing of the law, the Jackson Township Board of Education became the first district to partner with the LSTA, and now – following the efforts of the Toms River Jewish Community Council (TRJCC) – the LSTA will now be allowed offer their services in Toms River.

Now, despite being so late in the process, the TRJCC will be working with the LSTA to create as many routes as are economically feasible, in order to maximize the number of children who can receive busing.

Currently, the state provides $1,165 per eligible student as Aid in Lieu (AIL) and districts are prohibited from paying more than that amount. But when bused by a private consortium such as the LSTA, parents have the option of “opting in” and paying more to effectively subsidize the cost of the route if they choose.

“As envisioned, the busing bill will have far-reaching implications for school children around the state, including in East Brunswick, Howell, Linden, Deal, and many other municipalities,” said Shlomo Schorr, Director of Legislative Affairs for Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey Office. “We look forward to hearing of similar agreements with districts around the state.”

“Assemblyman Avi Schnall (D-30) has been working tirelessly on this issue for nearly eight years, and we are extremely grateful for his advocacy on this issue, as well as the sponsors of the bill, Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-6), and Senators Vin Gopal (D-11) and Bob Singer (R-30),” Schorr added.

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  1. It’s a win-win-win for all involved.
    Less headache for the township, easier for the schools, less cars on the road/less traffic, parents can get to work on time, etc, etc.

    Hopefully Manchester Township will join the LSTA soon as well.

  2. What I can’t seem to get an answer about is how the lsta will be filling all these extra routes when they can’t even fill all Lakewood routes. Or will the big schools get all the routes while even fewer Lakewood small schools get their routes covered?

    • They will be able use less busses by filling the routes with students in multiple townships.

      Perhaps this will even shorten the routes of some busses allowing the same bus to be used for 2 routes.

      • My sons already have boys from Jackson on their bus this year, which required the route to be rerouted in a way that takes them on a circular trip through Lakewood. What used to be a 15 minute bus ride for my sons now regularly takes 45 minutes. Adding Toms River kids is only going to worsen this.

  3. Haven’t received bussing in the 8 years since LSTA took over. With the BOE I had perfect door to door bussing. Just saying. Someone is making money on this.

  4. Thank you Avi Schnall and Co.

    LSTA was a good idea, but it is not being implemented well. There needs to be oversight over their entire operations and budget. Perhaps it’s time for some leadership change as well.

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