STANDSTILL: Lakewood Readies for Mass Gridlock As Unprecedented Bussing Protest Drill Gets Underway


lakewood-school-bus-drillLakewood, NJ, is ready for two days of a traffic nightmare, as a protest against the proposed elimination of courtesy bussing for students goes full steam ahead.

Officers with the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office will assist the Lakewood Police Department in coordinating traffic at large intersections guided by Lakewood Police Chief Rob Lawson.

Meetings with the Lakewood School District and state Department of Education officials in Trenton took place this week, but they will not stop the planned drill today and tomorrow to protest next year’s expected of courtesy bussing for students. Parents of yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs in Lakewood will drive their children to school rather than putting them on school busses.

This drill will demonstrate what will occur this fall if the nearly $4 million courtesy bussing is not in place.

The Lakewood Board of Education budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 did not include courtesy bussing for grades four thru twelve. The non-public schools of Lakewood serve over 25,000 local Lakewood students.

Cancelling courtesy bussing would leave at least 60% of private school students without bus transportation, thus creating enormous safety concerns for students, who would need to walk to school on a daily basis. Carpool transportation would create gridlock.

The drill this week will prepare parents, students, schools and the municipality for what could be a reality for the coming school year.

The planned drill has the approval of the roshei yeshiva of Lakewood and gedolei roshei yeshiva of America.

The drill is only for the morning routes and does not include transportation home from school today or tomorrow. Schools will start at 9 a.m.

Beth Medrash Govoha has stated that it will cancel its shemiras hasedarim program for this morning and tomorrow morning.

Employers in Lakewood will be allowing some leeway in regards to their usual starting times for their employees participating in the drill.

The state formula for funding the Board of Education, which includes mandated bussing – for students living more than 2 miles away for elementary school and more than 2.5 miles for high school – is carried by local property taxes. Even though more revenue is coming in due to increased housing, it still is not enough to cover overall expenses because of the exponential growth of the community each year, officials say. This is in addition to the low proportion of public versus private school students.

Currently, of the approximately 10,450 students who use courtesy bussing, more than 8,100 attend private schools.

Last month, the Lakewood Board of Education eliminated all courtesy busing from the 2014-15 budget as a way to meet tax hike caps set by the state. Courtesy busing for kindergarten to third-grade students was subsequently brought back.

{Chana Newscenter}


  1. why is my tax dollars going up every year when the public school enrollment is down? where is all the money?

    we have all Frum board members in the Lakewood twp committee and in the Lakewood board of education and nothing could be done?

  2. They should do the same test to see how the financial implications on how many kids would enroll in public school if not for all the private schools in the area. This will show that parents should get equal share in educational expense as their counterpart does in the public school system.

  3. Traffic wasn’t so bad, and I had to drive past the Cheder on Rt. 9 and Madison.

    I think it is ridiculous that all schools asked their parents to drive the kids to school and not use busing today, since many schools WILL receive the busing for their students, as they are located outside the 2 or 2.5 mile radius. So this “drill” which is supposed to show the powers that be what it will look like is not real.

    And next year, if/when the Cheder’s boys school moves to Vasser in industrial park, almost all those parents will be eligible for the busing. That’s over 3000 children right there who will have no issues getting to school!

  4. Here in Baltimore carpool is a nightmare every day. Its not just the driving its everything that comes along with it. gridlock is reality here, the frum community is smaller than lakewood but baltimore is a major city that has a lot of traffic even before factoring in the carpool nightmare. If Lakewood is successful in this endeavor then every city without busing should be showing the politicians what carpool times are like. I’m not sure they really know how dangerous it is. Let them stand in the parking lots of every school at drop off and dismissal times and see how many close calls there are. Let them watch just for one day at about 8:30 am at all the busy intersections while every carpool is trying to make it down the same streets which are all backed up and blocked up with honking horns and maybe the carpool nightmare could end once and for all everywhere. Maybe we should take what Lakewood is doing as a lesson for the rest of us and start protesting for our rights. We pay taxes too!!

  5. #1 There’s a big difference here. In Lakewood I pay over $10,000 in property taxes (that’s double what my brother in Brooklyn pays even though his home value is double).For sky high taxes we can’t even get this minimal return which, as was demonstrated today, is a benefit to all township motorists.

  6. You Baltimorians aught to mind your own business. This is about Lakewood. Not Baltimore. You can’t compare the 2.