DOCUMENTS: Lakewood Teacher and Attorney Arthur Lang files Alcantara v. Hespe; Hopes BOE Will Join as Plaintiff

a lang handing in documents to state[PHOTO & DOCUMENTS] “In the tradition of Robinson v. Cahill and Abbott v. Burke, New Jersey cases that transformed American education in the twentieth century and helped advance New Jersey public schools into twenty-first century leadership, I file Alcantara v. Hespe with the New Jersey Department of Education,” Arthur H. Lang, teacher and attorney, tells TLS.

“As a teacher in Lakewood High School, I have first-hand knowledge of the effects that inadequate funding have on my students. Over the last decade, I have seen the decimation of one the best faculties in the state, the closure of an extremely popular vocational program, and the loss of educational support for my struggling students. This has left our most needy children with little hope for a successful future. This because, the State of New Jersey, treats Lakewood as if it were a wealthy district; that with a population of 108,000 it should easily provide for 5,500 public school students.

Adds Lang, “The reality is that Lakewood has not 5,500 but 35,000 public and nonpublic children who are supported by a tax base that has the ninth lowest per capita income of 564 New Jersey municipalities. One third of the district budget is spent on required services for all 35,000 of its children, half of which is by right under the United States Constitution and the other half by right under New Jersey law. It is simply wrong that the Department of Education funding formula ignores the existence of over 84% of the children of Lakewood when calculating adequate funding for Lakewood. The result is that my students, the public school students, are hurt the most, and all the children of Lakewood suffer. This bodes poorly for the nation and will have a detrimental impact on the State of New Jersey, which does not need more failing school districts.”

“I implore all supporters of public education in Lakewood and New Jersey to rally behind this lawsuit so that every child should count, so that Lakewood public schools should once again rank among the finest in the state, and so that the wonderful communities in Lakewood will no longer have to compete under against an inadequate funding formula, but instead will stand united for the common good.”

/s/Arthur H. Lang
Arthur H. Lang
Educator/Attorney at Law

Dated May 16, 2014

Arthur Lang learned in Beth Medrash Gevoah for 16 years and has been teaching mathematics in Lakewood High School since 2003. He has a degree in Government from the University of Texas, a Masters degree in Educational Administration from Chadron State College in Nebraska, and a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School in Newark. He studied under the constitutional scholar Wallace Mendelson while at University of Texas and under the father of educational litigation, Paul Tractenberg, while at Rutgers Law School. He and his family have been resident of Lakewood for nearly 30 years.

Click here to view the petition.

[TLS]

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27 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s try to be level-headed here.

    The fact is, the state is technically correct. The formula is based on the public school children because the state is legally required to educate the public children, NOT the private school children. It is your legal right to register your child in public school, at which point the state is legally required to educate your child. Until you do so, the state has no obligation to do so.

    (Whether the state mandates busing for private school children has no relevance to this topic.)

    Therefore, when the state developed its formula to provide state aid for education, the formula they adopted – based on the number of public school children – is correct.

    I don’t understand the merits of the lawsuit.

    Some will say, that the state should consider the costs of educating private school children in its formula because these costs add an economic burden on the district and homeowners. I disagree. Should we argue that the state should take into account other economic burdens on a district as well? For example, should we take into account a town’s costs associated with rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy? Should we argue that the state should take into account Lakewood homeowners’ economic burden of making chasunahs and supporting their children in kollel? I think not. Therefore, the state should also not take into account Lakewood homeowners’ economic burden of privately educating their own children.

    I believe the state has no moral obligation, nor any legal obligation, to do so. I would appreciate a response from A Lang on the legal angle.

  2. Yid you have not made any coherent argument. Hardship from Sandy or other hardships are unrelated to education costs and were not mandated by the state. Whereas special education and busing of private school children, are state mandated school related expenses that are currently not funded accordingly by the state.

  3. TO #5- What would the state do according to your reasoning if we all decided to enroll of the students in the private school to public school?

  4. To Yid
    Your arguments are very flawed . The costs that we have here in Lakewood are costs that the State of NJ MANDATES ,that means forces , us to spend . These costs are because we are a district of 35,000 students . The State MANDATES that we spend huge amounts to educate special ed kids and to bus private school kids . If we only had 5000 kids in the district then these costs would not exist . The special ed kids come from a pool of 35,000 not 5,000 and the transportation also comes from a poll of 25 to 30000 not 5,000. They are costs that the State says we HAVE TO pay ,but the state does not give aid for .

  5. Home Run!

    Lakewood owes Mr. Lang a huge Yosher Koach (thank you) for the time and effort he put into this very articulate and well-reasoned lawsuit.

    Let’s hope the legal process moves quickly to address the raw deal Lakewood gets in the State funding formula.

  6. To Yid #5,

    I just read the Petition and it’s hard to believe you read the document. Your reasoning is blatantly flawed (and perhaps biased as well.) You are comparing apples to oranges and one has got nothing to do with the other.

    Read the Petition and then come back here (if you still feel the urge) to ask an intelligent question and you will receive an intelligent answer.

    No need to feel embarrassed of urself when u get done studying the argument.. It’s ok.

  7. Im shocked ppl are still shocked at Yid’s post. He purposely posts silly stuff just to get u upset, riled up & respond to him. He knows hes wrong. Dont waste ur time pointing it out.

  8. My daughter attends a top 100 (nationally) public high school in a well off town in Monmouth Cty, where only five percent of students attend private schools. The State provides the BOE with monetary aid. Why? Because the State requires X amount of dollars per student. The more students in public schools the higher the aid. Rateables/Public School Students = Dollars Spent Per Pupil – State mandated dollars per pupil = State Aid. And stop threatening to enroll Frum kinda in public schools.., you won’t and it makes you sound meshugah

  9. Yid you are really confused.Title one is a Grant from the federal govt.It is like a present .If you get it you spend it ,if you dont get it you dont spend it . Transportation and Special ed are mandated.That means you have to tax and spend it even if the State does not give you any funds for it. There is a huge difference.

  10. Everyone’s belittleing Yid while failing to adequately answer him. I had the same thought he did, am I also a “troll”?

  11. To Paul Revere :
    Everybody has answered him quite well . The State of NJ recognizes that private school children exist and they do give some funding towards them . They also MANDATE that local school boards provide funding for some services . For example ,they require private schools to provide nursing services . They also provide the SAME funding per pupil to every private school child for those nursing services . They MANDATE that the local district provide transportation ( over 2 miles ) to private school students . Thet also MANDATE special education for severly handicapped students . In LAKEWOOD , there is a huge cost to provide mandated transportation and Special ED . This is because we have large amounts of students getting these services which come from a pool of 35,000 students . Yet when the State calculates their aid ,they give us as if we are only 5000 students . In another few years , the costs of these mandated services will be so large that there will not be enough money to pay fopr the public school teachers . This lawsuit was brought by an attorney on bhehalf of PUB LIC SCHOOL parents and students . It is saying that because the State is not giving the correct amount of aid to the district , and the District MUST UNDER LAW spend 1/3 of its budget on services that really arise because of the unique amount of private school hildren ,therefore the public schools do not have enough money to function properly .

    All of Yids comparisons to Hurricane Sandy or other non education expenses make no sense . Title 1 is also not relevant as that is a grant or gift and is not a Mandated service . If the Federal govt would stop giving the District Title 1 funds ,the State would not force you to run a Title 1 program .

  12. Yid is right. Its hard to accept but he makes a great point. We can’t blame others for our higher cost of living a frum life.

    Maybe I’ll register my kids in public school because I can no longer afford to live the frum lifestyle.

  13. Attorney Lang has produced a very well thought out & with many legaly valid points. The fact the BOE current & former Attorneys have not done this may be an indication of smething improper. Am I suggesting that perhaps Mr. Lang who is an insider & seems to know first hand knowledge, perhaps he should have a paid position as a legal consultant.

Comments are closed.