Lakewood, NJ – The Lakewood Board of Education voted last night to continue courtesy busing for 10,000 children for the remainder of the school year, but the school district’s state-appointed monitor could still override the decision, reports Shannon Mullen for the ASBURY PARK PRESS.
The vote came in light of a recently failed referendum on courtesy bussing and the current transportation crisis. As previously reported on Matzav, Lakewood Township officials conceded that they aren’t prepared for the chaos looming later this month when some 10,000 schoolchildren lose their busing.
The school district had mailed letters home informing parents that courtesy busing – busing for elementary school students who live within two miles of their schools and high school students who live 2-½ miles from their schools – will end effective February 26.
Parents are concerned about the safety of their children walking to school. 7,100 private school students will be left without busing. On the public school side, over 2,700 students won’t have busing.
State monitor Michael Azzara had overridden an earlier resolution that called for funds to be reallocated to cover the courtesy bussing, but Mullen reports that the board unanimously amended the resolution, deleting the reference to reallocating funds. Azzara said he would wait to see if the Township Committee decides to provide the district with $2.5 million in aid before acting on the resolution.
Mullen adds that the board adopted a third resolution, saying it would hire former state comptroller Matthew Boxer to sue the New Jersey Department of Education if Azzara doesn’t continue courtesy busing.
Meanwhile, last week, Matzav reported that former school board attorney Michael I. Inzelbuch announced that he would sue the district to stop cancelling the busing after February 26. Inzelbuch said that emails he has reviewed demonstrate that incorrect information was given to Azzara, who said that $6.2 million is needed for courtesy bussing; in truth, only $2.5 million is. Inzelbuch has accused district officials of purposely misleading the public
This ongoing saga continues. Stay tuned.
D. Patelnick – Matzav.com