Lakewood: Special Ed Services Delayed, Textbooks Missing


lakewood-school-special-ed-3Lakewood, NJ – District officials acknowledged Wednesday they have yet to order all the textbooks that nonpublic school students are missing.

During an emergency meeting of the Lakewood Board of Education on Wednesday on why thousands of nonpublic school students began the school year without all their textbooks, Business Administrator Thomas D’Ambola said he was told that as of Tuesday, 20 percent of the books had yet to be ordered.

Board President Issac Zlatkin, who called for the meeting, said a district official told him that as of last Friday – only a couple of days before the start of the school year – as much as 70 percent of the books had yet to be ordered.

“I believe it’s an outrage,” said Zlatkin, who also questioned why thousands of children in private schools do not have access to nurses or special education teachers because the adults in town have yet to reach an agreement.

According to the state Nonpublic School Textbook Law, school districts are required to buy and “loan” textbooks to private schools that are located within its boundaries. Districts are reimbursed by the state for the cost depending on their state aid allotment.

According to the written guidelines for administering the law, the parents or guardians of each nonpublic school student are required to provide the district with a written request for books by May 1.

Districts then have until June 30 to buy the books from publishers, according to the guidelines.

Lakewood’s nonpublic schools did not provide the district even one written request by the May deadline, Superintendent Laura Winters said.

Meanwhile, an attempt by Lakewood to play by the rules when it comes to providing funding for nursing and special education services in the township’s nonpublic schools also left many students without the services this week.

Special education providers decided this morning that its teachers would not be beginning this school year, notwithstanding a letter of intent agreed upon by the Lakewood Board of Education. The vendors had gotten a contract this week, but say that they will not provide services until the full contract is ironed out and reviewed, with full funding in place for all necessary services.

The vendors who hire the nurses and the special education teachers received proposed contracts on Tuesday and Wednesday and are reviewing them, said Marc Zitomer, the board’s attorney. He believes either letters of intent or the actual proposed contracts should be sufficient to allow the nurses and teachers to begin working in the coming days as their employers review the documents.

“They didn’t want to start the services with nothing in hand,” Zitomer said. “They have something in hand now.”

Read more at the APP.

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  1. as a principal of a nonpublic school i can tell you that the BOE, besides being inept are liars as well. The information that Laura Winters did not provide is that the BOE told all nonpublic schools that they cannot order books until they receive their allotment. That allotment was not provided to us or any other school until the end of July and we had our orders in the the very next day. yet, our books were not ordered yet.

  2. The Board did not have a single request for textbooks in hand by the deadline because the yeshivas did not hand them in? And then people complain because the textbooks aren’t there? I think some yeshiva administrators in Lakewood could use a course on nonprofit management practices. As in, “you don’t file your grant application, resources request, etc. on time and with the proper forms, then you won’t get the money, books, etc.” (And don’t blame it on anti-Semitism, guys.) This is basic stuff, not rocket science.

  3. Sorry guys. There was money either for busing or for Special Education (the gray and borderline cases – the real sp-ed kids don’t have to worry).
    You guys chose busing so now there is no $ for Special Ed – unless we raise taxes. OH NO. don’t do that.