Important Lakewood School Bussing Bill Approved by NJ State Assembly

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Despite opposition from the teachers’ union and the ACLU, S2049, a private school courtesy bussing bill of great import to the Lakewood, NJ, comunity, passed today in the New Jersey legislature in Trenton 41-72.

The bill establishes a three-year nonpublic student transportation pilot program for the Lakewood School District to provide funding to local private schools, mostly yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs serving the frum community.

The bill’s sponsors were Assemblyman Sean Kean and Assemblyman David Rible. Among those involved in pushing the bill forward were longtime Lakewood legislator State Senator Bob Singer and Passaic Assemblyman Gary Schaer. The bill had previously been approved by the New Jersey State Senate 22-8.

Today’s vote was a crucial one, as it would impact how transportation is funded for thousands of private school students in Lakewood.

The New Jersey Assembly voted on it today, the final day of the legislative session for this fiscal year.

The bill now requires the signature of Governor Chris Christie.

The bill was prompted by the school district’s cancellation of “courtesy” or nonmandated bus service for the 2016-17 school year, which would have left about 7,000 private school children and 3,000 public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade without bussing in September.

Under an agreement that was arranged with Lakewood’s municipal officials, the Township Committee will pick up the cost of courtesy bussing for public school students.

With the bill being approved, all private school students in Lakewood – through a system, known as “aid in lieu,” in which a private corporation will receive $884 for private school bussing and will be responsible for arranging bussing contracts – will have bussing for the next three years. Public school children who don’t qualify for mandated transportation will keep their bussing as well, but at the township’s expense.

{L. Horowitz – Matzav.com Newscenter}

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