Lakewood: Gridlock Next Week?

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school-busLakewood, NJ – Traffic in the Ihr Hatorah could come to a standstill next Tuesday and Wednesday, when, to protest next year’s expected elimination of courtesy busing for students in fourth through twelfth grades, the Igud Hamosdos – a consortium of yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs in Lakewood – has asked parents to drive their children to school rather than putting them on school busses.

The Igud wants to perform a “drill” of what will occur this fall if the nearly $4 million courtesy bussing is not in place, stated Rabbi Yisroel Schenkolewski, a longtime askan in Lakewood, in a letter from the Igud. The drill could result in thousands of additional cars on the already-crowded streets of Lakewood.

“We understand the ramifications that this might have on the township and are therefore giving ample time for the town to mobilize their resources to prepare for the upcoming drill,” writes Rabbi Schenkolewski, who sent the letter to Mayor Menashe Miller, another longtime askan, who forwarded the missive to State Department of Education Commissioner David Hespe as part of a June 3 letter that asks that the state give needed assistance” to Lakewood so courtesy busing won’t come to halt.

Here is the full text of the letter:

As you are well aware, the Lakewood Board of Education budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 did not include courtesy busing for grades 4 thru 12. We, the non-public schools of Lakewood, have been attempting to come up with solutions for the more than 25,000 local Lakewood students we represent.

Without courtesy bussing, it would leave at least 60% of those students without bus transportation, thus creating enormous safety concerns for our students, who would need to walk to school on a daily basis. Carpool transportation would create gridlock, as has been seen on days when there is no bus transportation. Unlike previous days when there was no bus transportation and many schools closed for the day, all schools will be open. Not seeing a viable solution to this crisis at this time, we have accepted that the reality is to work within the limitations that are before us.

Therefore, we are giving prior notice to the township that on June 10th and June 11th, we are instructing all schools under our care to send their students to school by carpool. This will serve as a drill for parents, students, schools and the municipality to prepare for what would be a reality for the coming school year.

We understand the ramifications that this might have on the township and are therefore giving ample time for the town to mobilize their resources to prepare for the upcoming drill. We also realize the effects that this will have on traffic throughout the area of Lakewood.

We hope to hear from you soon and look forward to working together on this matter.

{Chana Baumol-Matzav.com Newscenter}

26 COMMENTS

  1. The most absurd idea. Do they realize that people actually work for a living & can’t take off 2 days to protest a fiasco which they could/should have foreseen years ago!

  2. Why not take a page from the chassidim (I believe in Monroe but I am not sure) and enroll ALL children in the public school system? Send a pretty powerful message as to what each PS child cost us, thru our tax money, and how the courtesy busing gives us just a small benefit as compared to that of the PS children

  3. Lakewood is the Ihr Hatorah, NOT Monsey or Boro Park or Flatbush, or Kew Garden Hills, or………………………………..?????????????????????????????????????

    what chutzpah

  4. Lakewood, NJ – Traffic in the Ihr Hatorah…

    As an old time Lakewooder I will say maybe the reason Lakewood is having this and other issues lately is to remind us that even in Lakewood we are still in Golus but we are getting too comfortable and too aggressive.

  5. I sincerely hope this plan works. Otherwise, good luck to all you Lakewooders, you’ll need it! This is what reality is like every day in Baltimore. Some children take the city buses to school and some pay for private yellow bus transportation but the majority carpool. It’s impossible to describe what the streets are like in the mornings and afternoons and Baltimore is half the size of Lakewood. Sometimes cars are stopped on both sides of the street, double parked waiting for kids to either get into the car or out and traffic is stopped in both directions. The honking is crazy, not to mention the danger to the kids who have to walk around to the other side of the van in middle of the street. Some traffic lights get so backed up that cars can sit thru 5 or 6 rounds of red lights. One of the schools with about 1000 girls has so many carpools that the kids have to be dismmissed on a staggared schedule 10 minutes apart and it still takes at least 10 minutes just to get out of the parking lot and to the main road. There are so many cars backing out of their spot or coming around the parking lot to get into their spot at the same time that it is a neis there haven’t been more accidents. There’s already been some accidents in the parking lot. Carpool to each school can sometimes take a full hour and when you’ve got 10 kids, well you do the math! I was raised in New York with no carpools so I think I find it harder than the natives! Hatzlacha Raba and hoping this “drill” achieves the desired effect.

  6. Our representatives in Lakewood could not do their job and negotiate for us the bussing we feel we deserve. So now they’re having a childish tantrum and staging this protest. Reminds me of my 3 yr old–“I’ll show you what will happen if…”

  7. calm down #5; the fact remains that after Eretz Yisroel the Makom Torah is Lakewood; for years & years Lkwd is the hubub of Torah; After Bochurim return from the Mir, Brisk etc.. BMG is the next step…..sorry, but Flatbush doesn’t quite make the cut…..

  8. Here before us is proof of the fact that the concept of having frum elected officials on the Township and Education Boards is a mistake. Had there been only non-Jews on these boards our community would be able to demand a proportionate return for our tax dollars.

    We would be able to demand that the public schools conduct audits to ascertain where every parent lives and if their homes are approved places of residence per the inspection department. There would be careful checking to see who is an illegal immigrant (immediately reported to the ICE and deported) and who is occupying illegal residences in the township.

    But since our own frum people occupy the seats of power they cannot do things which will be called ‘racist’ and ‘discriminatory’.

    Furthermore, we need to identify every Jewish owned residence which is being rented to Mexicans. These landlords are costing us millions by squeezing multiple families in to dilapidated (ie. otherwise unrentable) units. Each child (and there can be ten or more in a single apartment) is costing us over $10,000 a year. Force the illegal immigrants out and we will save millions.

    Instead of public bussing we should establish a credit for each student which will be used to pay for a Kehila run program which will cost a fraction of the public school contracted company. We would stagger school openings to allow the same buses to service multiple schools. We would group schools by location allowing the bus that does pick up in a particular neighborhood to service multiple schools instead of every single school needing to send buses to every single neighborhood.

    To enroll all of our children in the public schools is a tactic unworthy of the city and a denial of our galus status. Let’s be smart and work in the background to accomplish our goals as shtadlanim have done for so many years.

  9. wake up the taxes are going up every year were is the money?? just to throw sand in your eyes to ignore you from the real problem

  10. Antagonizing people doesn’t work. This may backfire big time. We’re not supposed to antagonize the umot haolam. This sort of thing should be dealt with quietly, by advocacy and diplomacy. That was the way of our Gedolim in the past. Now we go to the streets, in imitation of other groups. For them it may work. For us it is a dangerous path to take

  11. #7 says

    “As an old time Lakewooder I will say maybe the reason Lakewood is having this and other issues lately is to remind us that even in Lakewood we are still in Golus but we are getting too comfortable and too aggressive.”

    YOU COULD NOT HAVE SAID SOMETHING MORE TRUE,

    thank you for waking us up to realize that Lakewood (or anywhere else for that matter) is not our home & Hashem is waiting with Rachel our matriarch crying for us to return to yerushalyim

  12. #7 says

    “As an old time Lakewooder I will say maybe the reason Lakewood is having this and other issues lately is to remind us that even in Lakewood we are still in Golus but we are getting too comfortable and too aggressive.”

    YOU COULD NOT HAVE SAID SOMETHING MORE TRUE,

    thank you for waking us up to realize that Lakewood (or anywhere else for that matter) is not our home & Hashem is waiting with Rachel our matriarch crying for us to return to yerushalyim

  13. There is a 10 million dollar grant from NJ Governor Christie that was held up by the ACLU & others for legalities.

    That 10 million can go to the Public School and allocated directly for the courtesy busing- Problem solved.

  14. As a Baltimore resident for many years, I heartily concur with everything that working mom said in her eloquent post. Toronto is also a “carpool” town and it is not at all easy there.

  15. I agree with the above commenters. I guess you people never heard of Chaim Berlin, Mir, Torah Vadaas, Torah Temima, Ateret Torah, Mikdash Melech, Vatertsky, Veyalpol, etc… amongst many other Kollelim?! Flatbush is an Ihr Hatorah as well! A lot of these kids “move” to Lakewood for one reason only (and I don’t blame them), housing is cheaper & affordable!But lets not ignore the biggest Makom Torah in America – right here in Brooklyn!

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