Lakewood Prepares for Widespread Havoc Wed. and Thu. to Protest Courtesy Busing Cut


school-busLakewood, NJ – Traffic in the Ihr Hatorah will come to a standstill on Wednesday and Thursday, when, to protest next year’s expectedelimination 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 askanin 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.

The following is a portion of a letter sent home today to parents of children in Lakewood private schools:

A letter was delivered to the Lakewood Township giving them ample time to mobilize their resources to facilitate a best case scenario under the circumstances. The planned drill has the approval of the rosh yeshiva, Rav Malkiel Kotler, and gedolei roshei yeshiva of America.

Therefore, we ask all parents to cooperate with us by not using bus transportation the morning of Wednesday, June 11th, and Thursday, June 12th. The drill does not include transportation home from school. We recognize the inconvenience that this will cause, but without bus transportation, this will be the norm unless a better solution is found. There will be obvious delays because of the traffic, but we feel that the end will justify the means, and through our hishtadlus, a more viable option will come from it.

-The drill is only taking place for the morning bus routes. Schools will start at 9 a.m.

-All school employees will not be expected to be on time the morning of June 11 and 12. In addition, Beth Medrash Govoha has notified us that it will cancel their shemiras hasedarim for those mornings as well.

-We respectfully request all employers to allow some lee way in regards to their usual starting time.

To better understand why we are asking you to inconvenience yourselves for two days, please take a moment to read why the drill we are proposing is only to our benefit in the long run. The information disseminated here, is culled from our meetings with askanim and town officials over the past few weeks. It would not do justice to try and explain the complete budget process in this small letter; however it will give you a better understanding of why we are at this juncture today.

The state formula for funding the BOE which includes mandated bussing (more than 2 miles for elementary school and more than 2.5 miles for high school) is carried by our property taxes”housing represents more taxable income. Even though more revenue is coming in, it still is not enough to cover our overall expenses because of our exponential growth each year. This is in addition to the low proportion of public vs. private school students. The state is aiding the case in disproportionate to the needs of the private schools such as bus transportation. If this trend continues, it would
seem to dictate that we will continue to fall into a deeper deficit whereby continuing to lose our services- even mandated busing!

The proposed drill will be the reality for every school day next year unless a change is made now. The practice run also gives township workers the ability to make proper decisions when attending to the traffic and safety our community. If you might ask, there will be bussing for K-3, please realize that the routes are being consolidated and will have children on these buses from 90-120 minutes which we don’t feel is a feasible option.

The only way to continue this momentum is to have the cooperation of all parents and not send their children on the bus this Wednesday and Thursday. Please don’t separate yourself from the tzibbur by sending your child on the bus whereby weakening the effect of the drill. The drill will only be that, if it represents what a day would look like without bus transportation. The way for you to help, is by cooperating these two days and we hope that at least a short-term and ultimately a long-term solution will come as a result of our efforts.

{Chana Newscenter}


  1. “drill”
    is anyone really that naive to fall for this?
    Its obviously a protest – a show of force-…are they not allowed to say that?

  2. alright. enough already. Those of us who live in cities that carpool really can’t understand the hype. get over it and move on.

  3. A drill – NOT!
    in the last paragraph they call it “way to continue momentum” — NOT!
    what they mean is a ‘protest’ and ask for no strike-breakers in the power of protest.

  4. The only one losing out is the children and those needing emergency services. I hope am ambulance is not delayed by these acts. A better way to have used these 2 days would have been to have those who walk next year do so and see what happens. On News12 today they reported that traffic was a little worse than normal not the big traffic jam that was predicted. In my opinion it only made the protesters look bad and the organizers of the so called “drill” even worse.