Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Vote on busing bill facing opposition

Lakewood busing vote is this Thursday in Trenton. The bill was pulled late Monday night when there was not enough votes for it to pass. Yet the lies about the orthodox community continue unabated - 
The myth- Orthodox private schools are taking away money intended for public school students for their own courtesy busing. The NJEA which is fiercely opposing the bill, ran a headline "Bill takes millions from Lakewood public schools to pay for busing for ineligible private school students" The claim is made according to their report, "S-2049 (Singer)/A-3652 (Rible, Kean) would direct the Lakewood school district, which is already underfunded in the current year by almost $5 million, to overpay a consortium of private schools to bus private school students.  Also, under provisions of the bills, the consortium would be permitted to use the overpayment to bus private school students who are not eligible for busing under State law."
In truth, the money to bus private students living past the threshold of  2 or 2.5 miles is mandated by the state. New Jersey law requires school districts to provide transportation to students who live more than two miles from school for grades K-8, and 2.5 miles for high school students. All across NJ towns pay for courtesy busing due to safety concerns,which includes many public school students who live less than the 2 mile threshold. If the school district is unable to provide transportation to nonpublic students within this limit, the district is required to make an “aid in lieu of transportation” payment to the parents of the nonpublic school student.

  In Lakewood the state appointed monitor  pressured to cut funding, decided he will threaten the funding for courtesy busing over all other non mandated programs since that is what will scare the orthodox and they will vote to add more taxes to the budget. Courtesy busing was put on a referendum as blackmail to have voters increase property taxes. It backfired and it was voted down. This came after the majority of Lakewood voted for a $35 million dollar referendum to fix the public schools that the orthodox dont attend. The loss of courtesy busing meant many public school students now have to walk to school. The district is to blame for playing politics with the courtesy busing not the Orthodox. This bill to be voted on is basically restoring the mandated busing and having the private schools control it rather than the district. This way they can negotiate cheaper contracts with providers and use the leftover money to bus students in the courtesy threshold. The deal also has the township of Lakewood putting up funding to transport public school students who live less than the 2 miles from school. The result is ALL Lakewood students will have busing and a safe way to get to school.

No comments:

Post a Comment