According to NJ state law parents who are eligible for free lunch meals for their children may not be charged at all for the cost of courtesy busing. Charging the parents of courtesy students fall under the subscription busing statute. Any family that qualifies for free and reduced lunch cannot be charged any monies for subscription busing. Therefore, charging parents of courtesy students across the board is indeed illegal. Additionaly the township can not pay for the courtesy busing costs of only some students, it can either pay for ALL Lakewood children or none of them. Currently the township has decided to pay 2 million dollars only for public school children and not for private school kids. The LSTA is charging $150 per kid to cover the costs.
Excerpt of NJ law not to charge parents for courtesy busing.
(e) Municipal governments may elect to pay the cost of transportation for students who live less than remote from their school through an interlocal agreement with the district board of education in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:39-1.2. Municipalities may elect to charge the parent or legal guardian for all or part of the cost of this service. (f) Students who are unable to pay because of financial hardship may not be excluded from receiving services described under this section. The criteria used to determine financialhardship shall be the same as the Statewide eligibility standards established for free and reduced-price meals under the State school lunch program.