Compromise Offered To Lakewood School Bus Drivers In Thanksgiving Controversy


school-busLakewood, NJ – Public outcry here on and elsewhere over school bus drivers having to work on Thanksgiving to provide service for private school students has led some officials to offer a compromise, said Michael Inzelbuch, attorney for the township Board of Education.

School district bus drivers were informed recently that some of them would be required to work Thanksgiving to provide busing for private school students, many of whom are Orthodox Jewish.

Thanksgiving is a normal school day for 18,000 Orthodox students who attend private schools in the township.

Inzelbuch held a meeting Thursday morning with officials from 14 bus companies in an attempt to iron out the “challenging times of the last few days.” He said the Board of Education has been receiving calls, many from parents of Orthodox students who said they would transport their own children so bus drivers could take off Thanksgiving, a federal holiday.

Bus companies that hold contracts with the township Board of Education are required by the state Department of Education to transport students Monday through Friday, from September to June. Despite this requirement, about 22 of the 76 private schools in Lakewood have opted to require only morning bus service for their students.

In the past, private schools waived their right to district busing on Thanksgiving as a courtesy.

This year, no such waiver was offered, township school officials had said earlier in the week.

In the past, the private schools found other ways to transport the children on Thanksgiving. However, the township’s Orthodox community has grown over the years, and now many students need the bus service as a safety issue, some Orthodox leaders and other officials have said.

Of the 76 private schools that receive bus service from the township school district, all but two are Orthodox schools, Inzelbuch said.

Lakewood has about 400 private school bus routes and about 90 public school routes, said Gus Kakavas, transportation consultant to the township school board.

Following the outcry over Thanksgiving bus service, officials for six private schools said they would transport their own students. Another 22 schools, including the Lakewood Cheder School – the largest private school in the district with 4,000 students – determined they would ask for morning transportation only, officials said.

At a Board of Education meeting in October, Kakavas said bus companies pool resources and if one company cannot provide service, another one will.

The township school district has contracts with bus companies that hire the drivers to staff the buses on required dates. The township school district does not determine whether a private school can do without bus service, Inzelbuch said.

“It is entirely up to the school and the state DOE,” he said.

The school district can levy a penalty against bus companies that do not provide service when it is needed, except when schools waive service, Inzelbuch said.

This year, X-mas will not be an issue because it falls on a Sunday, when no school busing is required.

Inzelbuch said officials for the bus companies will meet Dec. 20 to discuss plans for 2012 so a similar situation does not arise again.

{The Asbury Park Press/ Newscenter}


  1. Leave the drivers alone!!
    We are in Golus !!
    If you want to help
    Please help all the people with lower property taxes, normal lights on streets
    Normal street signs do that we can drive safely.

  2. Why is it that no matter what the story, there is always someone that has to post that we are in golus or/and that we need Moshiach. I agree on both observations but what’s the connection between this article (and frankly all the other ones) and Moshiach and golus?