Lakewood, NJ – The courtesy busing crisis has been resolved, but for the moment, no one will say how, reports Shannon Mullen for the Asbury Park Press.
The resolution of the crisis was made clear at a Township Committee meeting earlier tonight, as Mayor Menashe Miller told attendees at the auditorium in Town Hall on Third Street that there would be courtesy busing until the end of the 2016 school year and that it will not cost the township more than the one million dollars the municipality already promised the school district this past summer, even though it was previously said that $2.5 million would be needed – just weeks after voters were asked to vote on a $6.2 million tax levy to keep the courtesy busing.
Sounds confusing? It is, but parents are breathing a sigh of relief, the lack of clarity notwithstanding.
Mullen reports that the New Jersey Department of Education will not be kicking in additional funds to ensure the continuance of the courtesy busing, a fact confirmed prior to tonight’s meeting by the state-appointed monitor, Michael Azzara.
So while no further info on where the money is coming from has been revealed, Township Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein – who has labored on this issue tirelessly over the past few weeks – told tonight’s meeting attendees that he was promised by the state that the courtesy busing would not be halted for the duration of this school year.
An official told Matzav.com that the good feelings about this revelation should be tempered a bit, as this arrangement ensures busing only through June. Going forward, however, some kind of arrangement must be found to make certain that courtesy busing will be available to Lakewood parents for the 2016-1017 school year and beyond.
Rabbi Avi Schnall, director of Agudath Israel of New Jersey, expressed his satisfaction with the latest development.
“We are very relieved that the original agreement with the state will be honored and busing will continue till the end of the year,” Rabbi Schnall told Matzav.com. “We must appreciate the hard work that both the Board of Ed members and the township committeemen have invested to ensure that all children of Lakewood will have a safe way to get to school. However, while we embrace this good news, we need to remain focused on the future and continue to work on a permanent solution.”
D. Patelnik – Matzav.com