TLS spoke with Lakewood BOE General Counsel Michael Inzelbuch in regards the State’s rejection letter, indicating they would only loan the School District the $28 million it needed to cover the budget deficit – but not grant the funds.
“On the one hand, I thank the State for agreeing with the Superintendent and Administration as to the $28 million plus dollar number that is needed to provide a T & E Budget (Thorough and Efficient Budget),” said Inzelbuch. “This is much needed relief to our public students, staff, and community as a whole.”
He added, “Thank you to the Board, the Administration, Rabbi Kotler, Senator Singer, and all those who I personally know petitioned the State on behalf of our public schools.”
“However,” says Inzelbuch, “while a loan, not a grant, this confirms in a big way, and for the first time to such a significant monetary level, that the State is aware that there is a funding and revenue problem in Lakewood.
1- This is clearly by no means a long term solution;
2- This is akin to someone who appears in the Emergency Room at the Hospital bleeding profusely. The ER at first world to stop the bleeding with gauze pads until much needed surgery can occur. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of the recognition that the Lakewood mosaic is unique and requires equity for all its students;
3- Hopefully, fundamental fairness and the known need for a funding formula fix will now occur. No loans. No gifts. But – equity.”
Inzelbuch concluded, “As to the naysayers -and the negative aspersions cast – I ask: “When was the last time a bank provided a $28 million dollar loan on faulty paperwork?? C’mon, who you kidding?
“Thank you State.”
The cancelled budget meeting will be taking place on Wednesday, when the Administration and Board will discuss the recent developments, while attempting to work with the State on ensuring a grant is still feasible, provided the District provide the documentation they’re seeking.