The following statement was sent to TLS by the LAC (Lakewood Association Coalition). The LAC was founded as, and continues to be, a strictly tax reducing advocacy group and to assist our residents. However we are recognized as the driving force behind the recent public scrutiny of our elected officials over the past year. In this regard we have been asked by our mosdos and askanim to make the Lakewood Tzibur aware of a recent development on the BOE. There has been an attempt by the BOE to divert from our mosdos Title 1 money which should be allocated to help children who are educationally in need, and have it used for a new pre-school program. The mosdos who carry the burden of educating these children will be deprived of $2,000,000 under this plan so the money can go instead to fund this new preschool initiative. We have been contacted by 3 large yeshivos who are going to be sending home letters stating that they do not agree to this arrangement. While their consent is not legally needed, it has been reported by the Board of Ed. that they agreed. They all say it is untrue. The mosdos are almost unanimously opposed to this diversion of funds. There may be some who were going to benefit from the proposed pre-school in other ways, which made them more agreeable, however the vast majority of schools will stand to lose, as well as our children.
This is not only depriving children of needed tutoring and other educational services. It will also cost all Lakewood Taxpayers millions.
The BoEd. admitted that when Federal Stimulus money for the preschool runs out in 2 years, local taxpayers will be saddled with this cost. So this is not only a moral question of right or wrong this year. It is also a financial issue that will hit every Lakewood taxpayer in their pocket year after year.
The Board President, Mr. Abe Ostreicher together with the approval of the board, has the ability to rescind the proposed preschool program at the next board meeting. If anyone can contact him and explain why the Tzibur does not want this, they should please do so. Sometimes the board members are not aware of the consequences of their actions and need to be shown.
While originally it seemed like the problem here was just another bid rigging story, it has been brought to our attention that hundreds of our tinokos shel bais rabbon are at stake here, along with the entire taxpaying tzibur. While the LAC is not usually focused on education injustice, we feel that the right thing to do is to help spread this message, due to the fact that the two issues (taxes and education) are intertwined. Please stay on the lookout for signs by the organizers calling on the oilam to come en-masse to the next board meeting.