BREAKING – FIRST REPORT: Private Schools Will have Mixed-gender Busing Next Year to Save Money, School District State Monitor Says (VIDEO)

school bus lakewood tlsThere will be no courtesy busing for over 10,000 of Lakewood’s school students next year, and all mandated busing will have boys and girls from different schools riding together if it will save the district money, State Monitor Michael Azarra said Tuesday night.

In addition, there will only be one start and one end time for all students, which means primary-aged students will need to start and end at the same time as 8th-graders, should this save money.

These explosive announcements come after the Igud Hamosdos was presented with proposals that were “just not feasible,” school officials told TLS.

The proposals, which were presented to the Igud Hamosdos several weeks ago in order to bridge the approximately $5.5 million budget gap (as earlier reported on TLS), included one start and dismissal time, tiered busing, and nixed courtesy busing for those beyond the 1.1 mile state-mandated distance.

Even with those changes, Azarra proposed a $2.5 million referendum to cover the deficit.

However, in a letter submitted by the Mosdos to the BOE, they explained why those proposals were just not feasible, and stated that they would not accept them.

We would like to thank you sincerely for all the time, effort and meetings that you invested on behalf of the BOE to maintain the highest level of transportation services, while taking into account budget and cost saving initiatives,” the Igud Hamosdos wrote in a letter, obtained by TLS.

“Regretfully, at this time, we would like to inform you that we are not able to expand the 2014/15 Tiering Plan into the coming school year as proposed. Educating our students is our first and foremost priority and needs to be accomplished properly and be inherent in tranquility. Disruption to the daily schedules of over 25,000 students, tens of thousands of parents and several thousand teachers is not something that would further that goal.

Bussing for all students is a necessity for safety and proper education. Therefore, last year we agreed to try the Tiering Pilot Program with the understanding that it will be of value to our students. In actuality, after its implementation, it reduced the amount of children who benefitted. The proposed idea for the coming school year further affects the transportation of many more students. This combination of the loss of transportation to so many more students and the drastic restructuring of almost every nonpublic school’s schedule will affect the way we educate our students. The sacrifice is too great in comparison to what we are receiving. Please also understand that most of the schools that agreed to the tiering last year will most likely not continue to do so as they will change their schedule back to begin class at 9:00 AM.

We truly appreciate all that was done to try and make it work. We have tried our utmost to allow the proposed changes to create a positive turnaround to our transportation, regretfully it did not work. We thank you for your understanding.”

A board official told TLS that had the schools been offered to keep the proposed changes for several years, there would have been a possiblilty that the schools would have considerered an overhaul of the scheduling to accommodate the changes, but for one year, it just didn’t make sense.

In response, Azarra announced tonight that the courtesy busing is nixed, and the above changes would need to be implemented to save money on the mandated busing costs, which would now go up.

The board has 30 days to appeal this decision in court.



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There are 65 Comments to "BREAKING – FIRST REPORT: Private Schools Will have Mixed-gender Busing Next Year to Save Money, School District State Monitor Says (VIDEO)"

  • Rav Moshe says:

    Where are the politicians who we elected? Shame on them. Why can’t they once and for all get rid of this monitor who is wreaking havoc on our community? We are paying taxes through the roof and being treated like dirt.

  • Louis says:

    Where are our political allies or don’t we have any?

  • SL2 says:

    Wow!! Why is the Igud not suing the state like in Ramapo!?
    How can a non-elected state monitor come in and wreck such havoc with so many children’s education. Doesn’t he realize how little sense this makes, from mixed buses to keeping young children in school until the late afternoon?! Why are private school children any worse than public ones?

    Now that Gov. Christie announced his presidential ambitions perhaps he should be contacted with threats to go to the media about his state monitors shenanigans, he spoke about a future for all of our children this does nothing to help their future. I am sure he would not like this story to hit national attention. Because if it does it will be a sound bite that many can use against him in ad campaigns about how his administration is turning a deaf ear to thousands of children’s education even as they save the state millions in education dollars a year!

    There were many Jewish people at the campaign event today doesn’t anyone have a connection to reach out to?

  • o says:

    who in the state can we call to complain

  • Great Idea says:

    This is a blessing in disguise-it may solve the shidduch crisis!

  • anon says:

    Time to register all the kids in public school.

  • Yaakov says:

    I have a great idea. Let Gorge Gilmore who is the Republican Ocean County BOSS know that if the governor does not stop the state monitor. .. come November ” Senator Singer Assemblyman Rebile and Kean will be replaced by Democrats! ” let’s get 100 calls into his office tomorrow. . By the weekend it will all be cleared up.

  • Me says:

    Scary to make trouble for 30,000 of Gods children. I wouldn’t want that on my shoulders.

  • Moish says:

    Why dont all the private school children, I mean ALL, register our children a week before Labor Day in the failing Lakewood Public Schools and see how fast they will give them courtesy bussing!

  • And again! says:

    Welcome to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!

  • chaim b says:

    Mr Inzelbuch where are YOU?

    Our children need youu!!!

  • George says:

    Time to make a massive protest in Trenton!

  • muz mir zagin says:

    A bunch of hockers. All this fantasy threats of registering in public schools. Let’s get a few people to actually do it!

  • all great ideas says:

    all great ideas. NJ can not afford all 25,000 students to enter into the public school system. that’s about 600 Million dollars they need to cover in tuition. it would put the state into further dept. then we can ask other private schools and their communities to do the same – just a few days before Labor day. Suddenly we will get offered vouchers for our schools. the Democrat Political machine will then allow us to have voucher programs as is the case in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Florida.

    Until we show our numbers the political forum will not allow vouchers and make our children the second class “undocumented” children who happen to be US citizens by cutting funding and not changing the formula that NO state monitor can fix. NO ONE.

    lets do Mike Azerra a favor- he does not want this – its an agenda he has been placed to fix that he knows is not fixable. so he has to come up with these insane ideas because someone in Trenton put him in a bad position. The State of NJ Department of Education and the politicians do not care about the 25,000 private students in Lakewood and is stubborn to send our taxes back to this town.. But if you are an undocumented child or teenager that says i want to go to school – they must give you classes in your language Fashtayst. Ata Mayvin. Here come public school classes taught in Yiddish and Hebrew…

  • anon says:

    unless we are all willing to step up to the plate and stage a massive protest in trenton and at the offices of Gilmore/ the elected officials we will get nowhere. if we can get 20-30000 people protesting in trenton that will let the governors office/ commissioner of education know we are serious and there will be some movement on their part. We need to light up the switchboards with non-stop calls/ emails etc. to let the elcted officials know that this will be an election issue. if we sit back we will all continue to suffer from a political establishment that doesn’t legitimize our needs.

  • Sam says:

    So my 10k+ in property taxes gets me this.

  • Good thing says:

    You folks are nuts if you actually think the Gov. cares about our children’s education. Go ahead and threaten him and the other republicans…they don’t care!! You guys speak of him worried about this making national attention. How about national attention into Superstorm Sandy money…he didn’t care about that debacle. You have to come out from under the rock and realize there is no money and the State is not interested in giving more to lakewood. It’s a shame for everyone and everyone has something to lose. There must be a better way to cut bussing costs without comprising to go coed.


    think about it. the co-ed busing will never work.

    we have separate campuses. logistically it will never work. Azerra knows that.

    wait until all the public school parents realize that they too will be losing all their courtesy busing. no afternoon program buses…. a lot of them are going to have to give up their day jobs and walk their children all the way to school and back. they asked for the state monitor and he has arrived.

  • Mo says:

    Protesting is not the answer. We’re in golus and we actually have to explain our position to the elected goyim. We’re the minority in America, and not all of the laws are going to fit with our lifestyle. Lakewood already mismanaged the board, which led to the state monitor coming here in the first place. These comments sound very ungrateful and offensive to the politicians that try to help the community.

  • chochom says:

    Why can’t schools in the same area utilize the same bus? If there are children from one area going to the cheder and orchos Chaim they can ride together. Same for girls schools in close proximity like those located on Oak street. Etc…..

  • old story says:

    the idea of having all children within the same school end at the same time is not so bad!last year I had three busses stop at my daughter dismissed at 3 got home at 4! my second daughter ends at 3:30 and was home a few minutes before her, with the third bus arriving at 4:20!
    does that make sense?

  • Echad Mbnai Hachaburah says:

    There is one thing that I have never gotten a clear answer on. The courtesy busing is for elementary school children within 2 miles of school but outside of that is mandatory. Is that 2 miles as the crow flies or based on the drivable route? That would make a big difference to a lot of people. Any clarification would be appreciated. Thanks.

  • david says:

    We must make it hurt the governor by blocking the parkway south on sundays so people wont be getting to his beloved jersey shore

  • Thank you says:

    We are all on our way to EY anyway.
    Take a look at what’s going on in the world around us.
    Just another part

  • abe says:

    Just wondering. How much does it cost per child for bussing?

  • Jog a thon says:

    This is a joke. There is no $5.5 Million budget gap. Theres a reassessment happenning in the next 6 mos. after our increases theres gonna be a surplus. You dont think approx 4,000 ratables are going up approx $1,500 ? For a total of $6,000,000 ? This is an embarrassment to the people. And shows a total disregard to the citizens paying his salary. What a joker, whippersnapper this Azxarra guy is.

  • parent says:

    I guess whatever the bussing costs me for my 7 kids next year i’ll just have to pay that much less tuition. the money has to come from somewhere……

  • Lakewood rabbi says:

    When I was in yeshiva in Brooklyn the buses were mixed gender and we all came out to be frum jews.

  • Boogies says:

    Christie is just looking to create more traffic jams

  • In Lakewood says:

    Fourth of July is on fourth of July not the second In Lakewood

  • Mo says:

    If they need to balance the budget then instead of going after a puny 5 million from bussing, audit the PUBLIC schools and work out what they they are spending on e.g. the whole deal with $30 million for a roof that could have been done for under $10 million like we had last year etc.

  • what the says:

    Lets look at the rants from above:
    You want Gov Cristie to help you, Why 63% of your Community voted against him for Governor, he owes you nothing!
    Getting some of these buses off the road may help the traffic flow, but that means less buses less money for the bus companies, who ownes the bus companies?
    Lets register the students into Public Schools. Fine bring it on, leave your Torahs at home Religion is NOT allowed in public schools. Now you will ride mixed buses because you are NOT allowed segregation.
    Lets vote in more Democrats, great idea, you complain about your taxes now hold onto your wallets it will be a fun ride. Secondly you complain about stupid and useless laws, remember the Democrats love big government and total control of your lives, because THEY know whats best for you.

  • What about says:

    If a bus needs to pick up a group of children from one school, then proceed to go to the next school, get in line with 50 other buses to pick up the next group of children, the children from the first school will be on the bus longer than what is allowed by law.

    And k-3 getting out the same time as the older grades? I guess the state wants shorter days for our children with less hours dedicated to their education

  • Intheknow1 says:

    Let rich roberts tell all the political chevra that he donates to that he can no longer do so because he needs to fund our bussing instead.

  • fusterated says:

    Lets just state the Facts
    A public school child is receiving aprox. $16,000.00 a year
    A non Public School is only trying to receive $900 a year
    The tax Levy for the BOE is aprox $84,000,000.00
    Aprox. 65,000,0000 is paid for by Non public school parents
    Why cant non public school parents just receive a little bit of the pie without it being a whole circus.All we are trying to do is educate our children in a safety manner. Why does the monitor have to make this a US against them .Let it just be how can we educate all the Lakewood children. Unfortunately it seems that some people have other motives. In today’s society where the country prides it self on non discriminatory of race color religion etc. Why do we have the feeling that the monitor and others feel otherwise?

  • stam ah yid says:

    They’re finding it cheaper to pick up and deliver the two or three schools, maybe even more, rather than to pick up and deliver for one school at a time at different times? I find this to be a load of horse manure! To me it seems like they just don’t want to deal with the yeshivas in Lakewood.

  • david says:

    Let us remember we can solve this issue by putting big time pressure on the landlords who rent out to undocumented immigrants. Almost all the money goes to pay the schooling of the illegals

  • Enough says:

    Using golus as an excuse for resignation or an anemic response misses the point. Surely we must act with dignity, respect for others and a spirit of cooperation. But I am unaware of any halacha that regulates participation in a democracy. The activities of some government officials in this state border on tyranny. We must use the levers of our democratic government, including, although certainly not exclusively, the power afforded by free and fair elections to replace those unwilling to help their loyal constituents.

  • My Take says:

    Why isn’t the state paying for the busing? Why can’t the state give money to each school to provide their own buses so they have their own schedules?

  • Lkwd Proud says:

    A few questions, with no disrespect intended (so please, no disrespect to me either).
    Didn’t there used to be gender mixed busing in Lakewood years ago?
    Why did that change?
    Why can’t that work now?
    Is there something in the torah that forbids mixed gender busing for children?
    Why are parents against gender mixed busing?
    Why can’t schools consolidate trips for each development?
    Does anyone have an idea other than the ones the monitor has suggested?
    Were any of those ideas bought to the Board of Ed?
    If so, what was the outcome to those ideas?

    I’m not trying to debate but it seems like whatever solution that is thought of, people have a problem with yet no one else has any other ideas or answers on how to fix the problem. Just keep in mind, the monitor was sent here by the state so the hatred spewed towards him is not only disgusting but undeserving. His job is to try to fix our broken education system. It’s not an “us against them” situation. He is not cutting teachers or supplies or classes- he is trying to fix our budget and gender mixed busing would help.

  • o says:

    what does our Governor and Education Secretary say about this mess.

  • ab3 says:

    His logic doesnt make sense our schools are separated by gender so how exactly is mixing the schools gonna help unless he plans on putting more than one school per bus which he can easily put two boys schools together only answer is if hes being malicious

  • SL2 says:

    After watching the video, he does say if it is feasible and cost effective.
    I can’t imagine that either option of mixing buses or multiple schools would fit that criteria.
    For the issue about same dismissal times. Perhaps the schools can restructure themselves as elementary, middle and junior high school as like the public schools and therefore have separate times as they are separate schools. Then they can mix the busing in the morning to help but not in the afternoon when it is not feasible as the 3 schools (elem., middle, junior) will be letting out different times.

  • bibi says:

    I’m ready to enroll in public school. And I am sure that the majority of lakewood is too if the rabanim give it the go ahead. I HOPE THEY DO!!

  • yizzi says:

    Lakewood public has been doing the combined schools for a long time. (HS and MS together on the same bus). Also mixed gender on the buses with no problems of time schedules.

  • more than 2 miles says:

    Re kids that live more than 2 miles from the school going to still get bussing?

  • Anonymous says:

    Amazing how we can solve the shidduch and busing crisis together

  • Louis says:

    The real question is does the monitor have the authority to set the amount of the budget he not who does . Basically i’d suggest that the school board levy be limited to say 10 thousand dollars which the monitor can play with as he pleases my taxes will go down and i’ll gladly pay for bussing

  • Moish says:

    Basically there are 3 groups here.
    Group 1 : We should all just enroll in public school!
    Issues : What if the school system calls your bluff? What happens to the 5,000 rebbe’s and morah’s in town?
    Group 2 : It’s the governor/state/local politicians fault!
    Issues : It’s really not, Lakewood had a chance and messed up. That’s why the monitor is here.
    Group 3 : But I pay so much in property taxes!
    Issues : So what. You also don’t get free cholent from the state. The law says that you have to pay property taxes. The law doesn’t say that you have to send your kids to private school.
    The real problem, which is happening in Monsey as well, is that the law doesn’t really fit with our lifestyle. This is not an issue in Out-Of-Town communities where frum people are a minority. As far as getting the law to change, good luck with that.

  • kollelwife says:

    38 – good questions. I can’t answer here what we have against mixed genders; it’s very nuanced. On the one hand I was thinking as I read this that while to us mixing the genders is a big thing, the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way, and we can’t expect everyone to understand why we are so up in arms. That’s on the one hand. To anyone outside the frum community, suggesting mixing the genders doesn’t come across as such a scandalous suggestion, so I don’t want to assume it’s coming from malice.

    On the other hand, and this has been suggested before, why not first just mix same-gender schools. Let the bus pick up multiple schools from one neighborhood, especially if the schools are near each other too. One or two buses from Westgate to Industrial Park, etc. for the girls and one or two for the boys, etc.

    Why did he have to right away jump into mixed gender? That’s what leaves me wondering about his intentions and feelings about the community.

    I don’t know him and don’t like to assume people are “out to get us”
    so I’m not sure what to think…

  • kollelwife says:

    I meant 40 – Lkwd Proud

  • Just saying says:

    We continue to suffer from the sin of the spies – then we saw ourselves as grasshoppers and we still do. You fight the fight because it is the right thing to do but don’t think the leadership will authorize a mass protest – they’re thinking from a different perspective than you are. They are thinking in terms of the community and won’t do it despite its effectiveness. You are thinking about from the perspective of the individual. What they don’t get is that there are A LOT of individuals who are suffering here. We no longer live in a world of paying off the Kosack not to bother us. We live in a world of sound bites and You Tube and pictures are more effective than $$$. We need to adjust our strategies to the new realities.

    Just saying.

  • jj says:

    Simple solution. The girls should enter the back of the bus like they do in israel with public bussing and the boys should sit in the front, and problem solved. If that doesnt work , try a mechitza like the monsey bus has. If it works there why cant it work here.

  • frum guy says:

    Ultimately, I want to see all the proposals the Igud turned down. I personally think that it is not unreasonable to ask parents who live within a certain distance of the school to pay for their own bussing. It’s like that in Brooklyn and Passaic (Passaic people pay much more taxes than we do). Why is there an assumption that we have aright to free courtesy bussing?

  • primarymom says:

    Anyone willing to send a 4-yr-old primary boy on a bus going to multiple schools and hope that he gets off at the right school? I’m not.

  • Out of Towner says:

    As someone who is not native to Lakewood, I would like to start by saying the following:

    Please be grateful for the services you are receiving, like courtesy busing. Where I grew up, there was no such thing as busing. There were carpools (& fights) and “walkpools” and once we got older, we used public transit. We learned to conduct ourselves with Derech Eretz in the street and on the bus. Let us take a moment and be thankful that we have had courtesy busing all these years.

    Now I would like to propose the following idea: There are many schools located within the vicinity of eachother (by way of example, Oak Street). Would it really be so terrible if the 4 girls schools would each employ a bus monitor that would be a representative of their school, and be on the bus to ensure the children are picked up and dropped off in the right places – and this way, one bus can go to two or three stops, pick up ALL the elementary girls (for example) fill up their bus and drive directly to those schools and drop the children off (again, with the monitors supervision), at their respective schools.

    I know that this idea has been suggested before, and it has faced opposition – from the schools who don’t want to pay the monitors; as well as from the bus companies who don’t have these monitors insured.

    It seems to me, that with the amount of time and money that will be saved if such a system could be employed; would certainly be sufficient to a) hire and pay a bus monitor and b) have the bus’ insurance policy cover the additional cost of insuring said monitor.

  • moishe greenberg says:

    WE ARE THE FOOLS…..bringing in the same poloticians every single time.

  • my2cents says:

    can the state monitor get the state to finally widen route 9? it would lessen the traffic, thereby lessening the buss route time – thereby lessening coast. and it would help 100’s of thousands of the drivers who use route 9 annually.

  • Yakov says:

    The real problem behind everything is structural. The laws are written as such, that the amount of funding allocated to a district is based on the amount of public school students.

    In a district like Lakewood, or Rockland County, the majority of students in the district are Private School Students. So the district gets shortchanged the amount of money it required to support both Public and Private School Students.

    Inevitably, this leads to fights and squabbling between the Public and Private school sectors over who can direct the limited funds that are available.

    The problems Stem all the way from a Federal Level.

  • Just me says:

    I’ve been here all my life..I am not going to pretend that I know all of the reglious reasons behind not having the boys mixed with the girls. If your faith is strong in your children and you trust that you have taught them well they will not let the you down. They may suprise you with the understanding of the requirements of upholding themselves in God’s eye. So Stop winning about busses If you don’t like it pay for the busses yourselves there is enough of you here in lakewood to pay for every child that you have that has to be transported per family..7 to 8 kids per family in most cases.. or have them ride together.

  • Ms. Garcia says:

    Do you not have confidence in your children? That they wouldn’t know how to behave because they share a bus with the other gender? In case your not aware the hasidic community are not the only people to have to pay taxes in lakewood.

  • Me says:

    Well said Just Me

  • Att just me on says:

    Obviously you don’t realize how much I debt most of our families are already. We Can not afford to be more taxed with the state monitors magical wand nor can we afford to pay for busing all our children. As it is we pay private tuition which we get no tax credits, and we also pay taxes (yes). Many families are struggling already under the financial duress while both parents are trying to hold down jobs .. yes we work on the books, oh and we pay taxes….

  • Larry says:

    Let the town put walk over bridges on Rt.9 to make it safer for all to walk….

  • Levins says:

    I am a bit confused, why is co-Ed busing so upsetting, but so many citizens are calling for public school registration. Wouldn’t they be in co-Ed classes as well? I believe under law, segregation is illegal. Can someone explain the difference?