Lakewood: The Truth Behind the School Budget Cuts


lakewood-school-special-ed-3Dear Lakewood residents,

Let me introduce myself. I’m a thirty-year-old lifelong Lakewood resident. I’m boruch Hashem married with five children, and two of them are in local mosdos. I also own two homes in Lakewood. Together, I pay approximately $12,000 a year in property taxes. I learn at Beth Medrash Govoha and also run a seasonal business here in Lakewood.  Boruch Hashem, none of my children need the services of SCHI, the former Tiny Tots program, therapy or tutoring.

As you are all aware, there are upcoming Board of Ed elections and the town is swirling with different candidates and various platforms. Without getting into details, the two sides are as follows. On one side, we have Mr. Seitler, Mr. Zlatkin and Mr. Fink, current Board of Ed members who were put in last election with a promise to the community to lower our property taxes, and the candidates who associate themselves with them. On the other side, you have the old members, like Mr. Ostreicher, and the other candidates who are associated with him and the Igud Hamosdos.

As the election approaches, Mr. Seitler, Mr. Zlatkin and Mr. Fink are touting their success for what they did with last year’s budget, which featured no increase, and their proposal for the new decreased budget, which will lower the average homeowner’s taxes by $200. All that, they say, was accomplished without cutting any services to the community. Based on this, most sane people would definitely vote for the new candidates who are associated with these Board of Ed members.

However, as with everything that sounds too good to be true, one must verify what one is told before believing it. Thus, I went out to do just that, and what I found out will surprise you. These new Board of Ed members didn’t do this without cutting services as they say. What they did do was simply reject special children who wanted to go to SCHI. (They claimed that they added 18 children, but that is not an honest number, as ten of them were in SCHI already, in the preschool, the year before, and they took them in the next year for the regular program, so it was really only eight children, and they don’t tell us how many were rejected.) They also closed down Tiny Tots, a program for children who need therapy. In addition, they stopped paying for therapy for children who attended Ready Set Grow and cut funding for tutoring in local mosdos for children who are falling behind.

How do I know this is true, you’ll ask me, if these Board of Ed members say that it is not?

The answer is simple: Verify it the way I did. Pick up the phone and call the people I called and they will tell you the same thing. I spoke to local rabbonim, principles, school administrators and tutors from local mosdos. They all said the same thing: funding for crucial services was cut and it is a disaster. The children, I was told by person after person, are suffering immensely.

Even if it’s true, you might argue, why should we pay for these special children who need to go to SCHI and for children who need tutoring and therapy? While we feel terrible for them, why should the community pay for these services?

The answer is simple: It’s the same reason you pay for health insurance, life insurance, renter’s insurance, or fire insurance. Even if you don’t need it, and even if you don’t end up using it, you pay for it in case you need it. The same applies here. Boruch Hashem you don’t need SCHI, tutoring or therapy, but in case you do, SCHI and the other services will be there for you.

The math is quite simple as well. If you cut funding for the aforementioned programs – as the Board members have done – the savings to the taxpayer pale in comparison to the havoc being wreaked to countless families.

Imagine that, chas veshalom, you have a special child and the Board of Ed rejects your child’s application to SCHI. Do you know how much that will cost you per year? Try $70,000 a year. And if your child needs tutoring or therapy, that will cost you close to $100 or more per hour. Would you rather pay $200 or more a year in property taxes or pay $70,000 a year to SCHI or $100 or more per hour for tutoring or therapy?

Before jumping on this ever-popular bandwagon of lowering taxes, think about it like this and then decide for whom to vote.

A Lakewood resident who cares

P.S. This letter is not meant as an endorsement of Mr. Ostreicher and the candidates associated with him, as these “old” members did nothing to lower our taxes at all. Likewise, it is not meant to criticize Mr. Seitler, Mr. Zlatkin and Mr. Fink, as they have worked diligently and put forth great effort to make cuts in other areas of the school budget and lower taxes. The problem is, as the old saying goes, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” That is, we mustn’t cut funds for crucial and vital services while we endeavor to bring spending under control. These “new” members must own up to that. It might be the easiest way to lower the budget, but it is clearly not the most prudent.

So who should you vote for? I don’t know. Perhaps there is an independent candidate you wish to grant your vote to. Either way, I just want to give you an honest picture and allow you to decide.

{ Newscenter}


  1. Very nice letter For those that know this is the truth and even the BOE members off the record will agree they made these cuts WAY TO GO!!!
    Also i commend Matzav For posting this probably the Lakewood sights wont.

  2. Finally we have someone who is able to articulate the feelings of those who are affected by the “new improved” BOE. I am a parent of a child special needs child who is being negatively affected by the BOE. I’m not going to go into details, as it would’nt be prudent for me to do so, however you should know that my child is sufffering (literaly not just educationaly) and my wife and I are suffering. Furthemore I was treated callously by one of the new members, who told me to “go collect money”, and offered to “go collecting with me”.

  3. Thank You for finally speaking the truth. The writer speaks for me and for most open minded people of this community. $200 ayear or $16 a month is not gonna kill me. All the hype about lowering taxes is exactly that, A hype – which means nothing to me personally.

  4. this gut is a fraud. when some starts off by saying “Let me introduce myself” but conviently forgets to omit his/her name then we know something is not right

  5. what is your name?

    why don’t you sign your letter? If you feel so strongly about this,and sure of your facts, sign your name! By, not signing you name, you are only telling all that this is merely propaganda . Now, even if someone else comes along saying the same thing, and does sign his name, people will think he is just parroting your words, that are only “raid”, and missing the facts.


    Yekusiel Kohn

  6. The new BOE members took away therapy from my son by firing his wonderful therapist which had worked at the BOE for close to 20 years. They had called her in at the beginning of the summer and demanded she take a heavy paycut. They gave her 2 weeks to decide, but before the 2 weeks were even finished, she was simply fired. There were never any complaints about her ability. The families were very pleased with her services. But the young BOE members members knew better than everyone else and figured that the more people they fire the less services they would need to pay for. Well.. it’s been close to a year since they fired our therapist and contrary to whatever “press releases” they’ll put out for the media, my kid has been denied his needed therapy.. And no, ofcourse they haven’t replaced her either.. I daven they never have to understand the suffering my wife and I endure because of their belief that they’re smarter than all of us..

  7. this guy is a phoney. either u indroduce yourself. with your name or we have no choice but to assume that your just a typical hocker in town

  8. All you have to do is verify the facts. Just because you are to lazy to check out the facts doesn’t mean they are not true. I’m not saying they are or not but don’t gripe about someone not signing.

  9. My three choices, for whom I’ve already voted by absentee ballot, are Yisroel Rosenthal, Baruch Blaustein, and Boruch Mandel. I strongly urge the entire k’hilla to vote the same way. For the budget question, as the above article seems to recommend as well, I voted NO. Have a Chag Kosher V’Sameiach!!

  10. It’s understandable why he didn’t print his name. He let us know a bit about his financial status, in order to let us know what he knows. Why should everyone know he owns 2 homes… etc. He was right not to divulge his name, & you can see from his letter, that he really only wants to help.
    Not every letter needs to be signed. To comment number 6-rather than just picking a fight, try to “listen’ to what he has to say.

  11. Excellent!

    All I did was ask someone to sign his name. I never said I did not believe him. To the contrary, his points sound quite valid. However, not signing one’s name leaves doubt to the veracity of the information, and creates doubters, as one commenter wrote, “we have no choice but to assume that your just a typical hocker in town”.

    So why call me lazy? I asked the person to sign his name. I highly doubt the author of the letter intended for us all to “check out the facts” on our own.

  12. As a teacher in a local school I can vouch for the truth of what is written. For the loss that is being suffered, the savings ought to be way higher.

  13. Great letter. Print it out and hang it around town. it’s ab out time someone said the truthg. it’s a chruban out there

  14. While you claim to have “verified” the information, you seem to have omitted if you verified it with the correct sources. Did you verify who voted against the Pre-School initiative on October 5th 2010? Obviously not. See the Board minutes on the Agenda item P and see who voted against it. I would suggest that people do REAL research before writing letters. If therapy costs 70,000 a year why is it costing 116,000 in SCHI?

  15. Glad to see people are beginning to wise up. The mantra “Cut taxes! Cut taxes!” is just that – a magical chant which produces the opposite of what it claims.

    You get what you pay for. If you cut funding, you cut services. Period. Check out the facts before you fall for the hype. Check the deed before you buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

    And there’s another reason to pay for these services besides “someday you yourself might need them.” It’s called Ahavas Yisroel. Shortly we’ll be reading in Avos that “What’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine” is the midah of S’dom. And we know what happened to them. We help the less fortunate because it’s the right thing to do. HaShem clothed Adam haRishon and buried Moshe Rabbeinu – the Torah begins and ends with chessed. Just because it’s done through a government organization and not by a check to someone knocking at the door doesn’t make it any the less chessed. In fact, it can be better, because the recipient is spared the embarrassment of asking directly.

    BTW, the kehillahs in Europe taxed people directly to pay for community services. How is that so different from paying local taxes in a place like Lakewood?

  16. The big question is : why did they only cut services that affect the frum community. They did not dare touch the bloated public school budget. WHY?

  17. Kol tuv – how do you know they only cut services to the frum community? Did you check? Do you know anyone in the public schools to ask? Why don’t you find out instead of just assuming? With so many frum on the school board, is it likely that the BOE would just be out to get us?

    CHECK IT OUT. CHECK EVERYTHING OUT. Quit believing everything you hear without asking questions.

  18. Since when does signing a letter give it validity? We all know of letters that were supposedly signed by well known people and it was fake. The writer, who clearly does not tell you who to vote for, makes a number of valid points, assuming they are true. Why do we need his signature-as if then it makes his points true? Either they are or they are not-and as many have said- go check it out! As sad as it is he would have reason not to reveal his name because there are many with power that want to keep it and would do many things in their power to keep the status quo.

  19. Finally someone is writing publicly what I have been arguing all along. Does saving $200 out of $7,500 make it worthwhile to bring misery onto many Yiddishe families? All I can tell to these Board members is to rethink what they are doing because Hashem does and does give schar v’oinesh.

  20. To Poster 5,6,9 why are you attacking the messenger as opposed to the message the point of the letter was that you can ask the same people that he did and they will tell you the same thing i actually bumped into an administrator of a school this morning and told him about this letter and asked him if this is is true and he answered YES and he also told me that all the schools in Lakewood are in the midst of drafting a letter to all the parents to the same tune as what says here in this letter so to those that don’t believe thus letter writer because he didn’t sign his name you can wait for the schools.

  21. and to Oldtimer… the boe isn’t hiding what they cut- its all public. They will tell anyone who will listen that they reduced the budget without cutting any services(to the public schools). They just hope that no one will look too clearly into what WAS cut. They also picked what they thought affected the least amount of people. B”H there are some of us out there who feel that this does affect them even if their own child does not need these services.
    P.S. for those who still believe that a signature makes something true…
    Jack Klein

  22. nobody so far knows what their talking about,and by the way i pay $ 11,500 for my one house, and why should my house pay more for those services than a cheaper house THINK ABOUT IT

  23. where on earth did you get the number $116,000????? as for Oldtimer – check it out yourself even the board members dont pretend that they cut the public school funding. talk to public school staff and they’ll tell you the same staff

  24. Board Member: SHAME ON YOU! (If you are really a Board Member) You are asid letayn es hadin! Enjoy your $16 a month, on my childs cheshbon.

  25. We must get this letter out to the community. The lakewood sites that i have checked are only saying the other side of the story. People need to hear this and do their own questioning. I know that every word of this letter is true. I am a special education teacher and i have seen how these budget cuts have left us understaffed, undersuppplied, with children in classes with inappropriate student teacher ratios… The budget cuts are having a negative impact!

  26. i saw as you pointed to “P. Approval to award the lease for Preschool Educational Space for the 2010-2011 school year to Bais Rivka Rochel, in the amount of $234,000, to be paid with Preschool Education Aid funds, subject to availability of funds and approval by the New Jersey Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood Education.”

    is this lease in lakewood or in manhattan?
    $234k for 10 months = 23k per month!! how huge is this place?

    pls explain why someone SHOULD vote yes? sounds insane to me!

  27. I know i’m not the first to point this out but it is strange that no lakewood site as of yet has posted this letter. Are they afraid to start up with these people? If everything the board members did is above board, post the letter and let people decide!