Lakewood School District Reaches Deal to Save Courtesy Busing for Public & Non-Public Students

The tentative courtesy busing deal first reported about by TLS last week, has been finalized, Board Of Education President Isaac Zlatkin, busing trafficand Askonim confirm to TLS.

BOE President Isaac Zlatkin provided this statement exclusively to The Lakewood Scoop this evening:

By way of background, starting in or about September of 2013 the Lakewood School District’s Business Administrator put the Board of Education on notice that there was the strong possibility that the District would end the school year 2013/2014 with a budget deficit. The projections of a multi-million dollar budget deficit became a stark reality in the Spring of 2014 as the end of the school year approached.

This large budget deficit further complicated the budget development process for the 2014-15 school year because the District became keenly aware that it would have to build this deficit into an already squeezed budget for this coming school year with little hope for additional state aid or a loan from the State. However, what truly loomed in everyone’s mind was the fact that non mandated spending would have to be eliminated from the 2014-15 budget and, in particular, courtesy busing which carried a $7 million price tag.

Initially, the Board decided to put the question of courtesy busing to a public question which would allow the public to decide whether to raise taxes to cover the costs of the busing. However, the Board ultimately decided not to do so because it was gravely concerned that the public would not approve it and kids would be left without busing.

Accordingly, I sent a letter to the Commissioner of Education detailing our physical crisis. Together with the transportation chairman and Finance committee chairman, we began working closely with State officials, members of the Department of Education, Township officials and community leaders to try to save courtesy busing for the Lakewood’s public and non-public students alike. The idea of allowing the community’s most precious resource – its children – to walk to school on Lakewood dangerous and heavily congested roads was simply not an option.

zlatkin tlsAfter numerous meetings, negotiations, ups and downs and countless hours of dialogue between all of the parties involved, the District was able to find a way to restore K-3 courtesy busing for the 2014-15 school year. Although most felt that this was certainly a step in the right direction, nobody was satisfied with allowing the students in grades 4-12 to walk to school. As such, Lakewood’s largest non-public schools were asked if they would be willing to tier their school openings which would result in a substantial cost saving to the Lakewood School District, such that some or all of the courtesy busing could be restored without costing the District more that it was able to budget for the original K-3 courtesy busing.

After ongoing discussions, which continued throughout last night, a pilot program was finalized with nine large non-public schools whereby the boys’ schools will open at 8:30 a.m. and the girls’ school will open at 9:15 a.m., which will allow the District to fully restore all courtesy busing for the health, safety and well-being of the Lakewood children.

The heroes in this process are the non-public schools, namely Rabbi Shlomo Kanarek, Rabbi Yosef Posen, Rabbi Yanky, Mandelbaum, Rabbi Yonoson Sanders, Rabbi Mendel Rabinowitz and Rabbi Meir Hertz, community leaders Rabbi Yisroel Schenkolewski, Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg, Township officials Mayor Menashe Miller and Meir Lichtenstein, Rabbi Shlomo Katz, Rabbi Shimmy Balsam and Rabbi Pesach Grossman. I saw firsthand over the last few very difficult months how the above group of individuals has demonstrated unwavering commitment to the welfare of all Lakewood children. Not a day has gone by when an effort was not made to come up with a solution. I would also like to thank Superintendent Ms. Laura Winters, State officials Assemblyman Schaer, Senator Singer, the Commissioner of Education, State Monitor Azzara and Glen Forney from the Department of Education. This pilot program demonstrates what can occur when everyone works hard and comes together as a team for the benefit of all Lakewood children.


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  2. @Bobbyc. From the article where it that’s would seem the schools are tashbar,cheder,orchos chaim,yeshiva ketana,rabbi kanerik yeshiva and rabbi sanders

  3. We’re so busy patting so many on the back, maybe we should focus on thanking who really created this test for us to pass or fail and in the end not much really changed. Let’s not forget who really pulls all the strings!

  4. Where is everyone ? I guess on vacation. Aren’t you happy with these results. People were up in arms when they were going to lose busing and know its like “I knew it would work out”. We have come to rely on others to do the heavy lifting and after its done, we become complacent.

  5. Big thanks too all the public servents!!! One point
    I would like to make.
    830 is a bit too early don’t you think? Will yeshiva end early? Will the girls have 15min extra schooling to make up for the loss?

    Is this a long term selution or just a bandaid?

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