Candidates in Tomorrow’s Lakewood School Board Elections: Enough With the Absurd Spending


princeton-avenue-school-building-smallWith the Lakewood School budget continuously ballooning over the past few years, an effort to curb out-of-control spending has produced candidates in the Lakewood school board elections tomorrow who pledge to finally bring an end to the waste and the unfairness to the Lakewood taxpayer.

The Igud Hamosdos of Lakewood, the senior communities, and others have endorsed three candidates running in tomorrow’s school board elections who have pledged a zero budget increase this year. The three are Chesky Seitler, Yitzchak Zlatkin and Carl Fink. The Vaad of Lakewood respected an earlier agreement with the Igud not to make its own endorsements. Nevertheless, as stated in its letter, the Igud consulted with key members of the Vaad in reaching its own decision.

The three candidates have run an effective campaign on a platform of fiscal responsibility, accountability and transparency.

What turned mainstream voters throughout Lakewood so decisively against the current board?

No doubt a primary factor was the adoption of a bloated budget, calling for a 12% tax increase, while surrounding school districts were cutting back. But perhaps it was also the dismissal of a very popular, effective superintendent, Eugenia Lawson, in defiance of howls of public outrage from Lakewood’s minority communities, which prompted the protest resignation of Board President Chet Galdo.

Perhaps it was also the nonstop diversion of special education monies from Lakewood’s nonpublic school children with special needs to the district coffers. Or maybe the district’s adamant refusal to break the monopoly of Catapult as the sole service provider to these children at what many educators regard as over-inflated rates.

Some say it was the destabilization of the district by the coming and going of five school superintendents in as many years. Many are convinced it was the root cause of all these board ailments-the oft-heard complaint that the board simply lost touch with the voters.

Perhaps no one single factor was decisive, but it certainly seems that Lakewood’s Board of Education has succeeded in alienating voters wall-to-wall.

Whatever the reason, with these endorsements, drastic change is definitely in the air. Will it actually happen or will it soon blow over just like the volcanic ash cloud now covering much of Europe?

Tomorrow will tell.

The following is the endorsement of the Igud Hamosdos of Lakewood: 

The Igud, representing our Mosdos and working closely with taxpayers’ representatives and key members of the Vaad, sent a detailed Questionnaire to the Candidates. We carefully reviewed their written responses, (4 of 7 answered), and met with Yechezkel Seitler, Isaac Zlatkin, and Carl Fink. We were impressed with their strong support for the children in our mosdos.  We were also impressed with the fact that these 3 candidates have pledged to ensure a ZERO dollar budget increase this year, while most members of the current Board of Education have approved a bloated budget which includes a Nine Million ($9,000,000) Dollar increase in the tax levy, representing a 12% increase over last year.  This shows there is definitely a need for change on the Board.

Regarding the One Year Term, many felt that Yisrael Friedman is a superior candidate.  They recommended that the Igud endorse him as a write-in candidate for the One Year Term, as many seniors are doing.  It was a very tough call. At the end we decided to endorse Ada Gonzalez for this seat, to maintain strong ties with Lakewood’s sizable Latino community.

Over the years, the Igud has carefully monitored the School Board to safeguard the Kehilla’s interests.  Since 2006 the Igud: (1) restored over $20 Million in Special Education funding (Title 1 and IDEA) to children with special needs in our mosdos; funding which was previously diverted to the District’s coffers; (2) beaten back concerted attacks on our safety bussing and (3) special education services; gained (4) 70 acres of Township land for our mosdos; (5) Township trash removal from our schools; (6) Expedited processing of our applications to the Planning and Zoning Boards; (7) Reduction in engineering fees charged to our mosdos; (8) Additional, staggered bussing to accommodate flexible dismissal times; (9) A rollback of the cutoff date for transportation eligibility from October 1, to December 31; (10) Recognition of the legitimate tax-exempt status of our schools in cases where this was unfairly contested. On the legislative front we are currently: (11) leading the fight for School Vouchers and Tax Credits; (12) for Charter Schools to serve our community; and (13) increased State aid to Lakewood. All this, plus numerous other educational gains for member schools and many individual students.

The direct beneficiaries of all these accomplishments are our children and families, who are doubly burdened by having to pay for educating public school children through property taxes, and for their own children’s education through tuition payments. The significant gains made by the Igud were accomplished directly because of our achdus and participation in the electoral process-through YOUR VOTE!

It is extremely important for each and every person to go out to vote. While it may seem that there is no opposition and therefore no need to go vote, there is still a potential for some who stand to lose to make a push against this slate. In most Board of Education electionsm the vote is decided by less than 100 votes.

Importantly, residents need to make sure that Yisrael Friedman gets in as a write-in against Ada Gonzales, who has voted for the inexcusable 9 million dollar increase.

Do not vote for Friedman in the box of 1a.  Click the write in box in 7a and write in his name there instead.

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. We have to be careful not to allow any of our actions to be spun so as to encourage antisemitism. I am afraid that whatever we say, our action will be spun as being to benefit Jews as against non-Jews

  2. Did the Igud endorse Friedman? You are insructing Friedman as a write in but was that verified as that is supposed to be done? There may be specific reasons why Ada Gonzales was endorsed.

  3. For the first time ever I’m either not voting or voting against the Igud/LAC/VAAD.I was appalled reading some of the interviews with candidates in the papers.All about ‘our community’ etc.(V’ain Kan Mokom L’ha’arch…) Think of the following (not far-fetched scenario): All school districts in Ocean County decide to consolidate to save money. Realizing they are in the majority, they decide to cut most money going to non public schools.How would you feel towards those who made the decision?There is no way I’m willing to have people feel that way towards me or my representative.Forgetting the moral issues,We are in Golus!!!