Monday, September 5, 2016

First time in Lakewood, mosdos will be combining bus routes

So much for the long held argument of schools not combining routes, in an interview with the  Lakewood Student Transportation Authority  director said,
 "For the first time in Lakewood, there are some schools that are combining their routes with other schools, a system that has proven effective in other large frum communities". Some schools have also shifted their schedules, allowing for early drop-off. Thanks to one school that did this, about 14-16 bus routes opened up for other schools.

 He explained as follows: Say that the average busing cost per child is about $600 annually. If the consortium receives $884 per mandated student, that leaves a surplus of $200+ per mandated student to be used for as many non-mandated students as possible.

So why, this year, is there a fee for courtesy students? Why $150?

Rabbi Krawiec prefaced his response by stressing that he understands that adding a new fee affects people in a serious way.

“It is not something I take lightly,” he said.

The need for the fee is because of a shortage of buses in Lakewood.

“We have a shortage of buses here,” said Rabbi Krawiec, “and we are working to address that. In truth, we could use an addition 100 buses.”

“Not every child will receive busing, because of our shortage,” he said. “For every mandated child who doesn’t get picked up because they weren’t placed on a route, we must take $884 from the general busing pot and give that to the student’s parents to cover his or her busing. However, by doing so, we are not left with the $200+ surplus to be used to subsidize for a courtesy student.”

Last year, there was a sizable number of students who did not receive transportation, “and this year we are seeing the same numbers,” said Rabbi Krawiec, “so we need to make up in the general fund for the money we’re going to lose. Hence the fee of $150 per non-mandated student.”

If last year’s Board of Ed budget would have remained the same, the estimated cost per non-mandated child would have been $650, so compared to that, the $150 fee doesn’t sound so steep, he explained.

“We have a new norm, a new way of handling the busing, and people are opening their minds to this new thought process,” said Rabbi Krawiec.

For the first time in Lakewood, he said, there are some schools that are combining their routes with other schools, a system that has proven effective in other large frum communities. Some schools have also shifted their schedules, allowing for early drop-off. Thanks to one school that did this, about 14-16 bus routes opened up for other schools.

Rabbi Krawiec said that it is also important for the bus routes to be minimized and for them to be fuller. This will ultimately help address the busing shortage.

The new realization on the ground has caused people to begin to accept a new mindset and a new approach to busing in Lakewood.

Some schools that have their own private buses have agreed to start busing for the school year on their own dime.

“They have agreed to give up their spot in the bidding till later in the process,” said Rabbi Krawiec. “We’re finding that the schools have really jumped on board in accepting this new reality. The tzibbur is beginning to understand that busing in Lakewood is a whole new world. Things we are doing now weren’t done last year or before.”

With this background, we asked Rabbi Krawiec when parents will know the details of their students’ busing schedules and routes for this year.

“Approximately 50% of students were routed and bid on already,” he said, explaining that the largest schools were addressed first.

“The spirit of the August bill was safety, so it was prudent for us to take care of the largest institutions, with the most students, first,” he explained.

Those schools were emailed bus passes, with busing for those students slated to begin Wednesday.

A large bid is scheduled for Wednesday for the rest of the large mosdos and the middle-range schools. There will be two more days of bidding on Monday and Tuesday of next week.

“Approximately 48 hours after a bid is complete, the buses should be ready to roll,” said Rabbi Krawiec.

Hopefully, by the end of next week, all the routes for this year will be on the road.

Why couldn’t all of this have been done earlier? Why wait for the first two weeks of school to sort this out?

“We would have loved to,” said Rabbi Krawiec, “but the bill was only passed less than four weeks ago, on August 9th. Before then, we didn’t have funding for this. The bill was not signed until a few weeks ago, and until then there was nothing to talk about. The consortium had to be formed, the schools had to then sign a member agreement to join the consortium, a board had to be elected to oversee the LSTA, the LSTA then hired me, and then we had to take all the data from the Board of Ed and start going through the routing and bidding process. When you think about it, we’ve accomplished quite a lot in a short period of done, and we will continue working on behalf of all students.”

Rabbi Krawiec admits that there will likely be some more bumps in the road as the LSTA sorts through the bureaucracy inherent in such an undertaking, but things will improve with time as busing is arranged for the 28-30,000 private school students in Lakewood.

“For next year, I hope that the routing and bidding will begin in May,” said Rabbi Krawiec. “For now, we ask parents to be patient as we implement a new system that we hope will be to the benefit of each individual family and the community as a whole.”
Read more at Matzav


  1. When is HV posting the video of the last Township Committee meeting??

  2. What changed for years people offered this suggestion of combining routes and the roshei mosdos were adamantly against it. Do they have better control over the buses now?

  3. Who is footing the bill for this consortium. There are ads in the bp for at least another 2 employees.

  4. Less stops, longer distance to stops, combined routes. All of a sudden that is not a problem. If they had agreed to this years ago, we would be paying less in taxes now.

    On top of that, more kids than ever will not have busing. the Vaad spent all of their political capital on this (as well as $2 million of taxpayer money. I hope it does work out.

    1. Here we go!

      The infamous VAAD

  5. The difference is previously the district was in control of bussing for private schools. It was the district who had to take responsibility for what goes on on the buses. Therefore they did not want the risk of combining routes. Now that the mosdos are in control they have a better handle on the situation and can afford to combine routes.

    1. O font believe for one minute that the district was against combining schools and routes. Can u back your claim that district was against saving money as in davka not combining routes and schools ?

    2. "Risk of combining routes" you sound like a press release foe this new entity.

  6. I publicly proposed combining school routes as one of my ideas to save taxpayers money. That was when I ran against Bob Singer six years ago. I was told it would never happen because certain people don't want their children to associate with children from other schools. Now it's OK? Now that they control the money it's OK? I am willing to bet that there are many schools that are not willing to combine routes and nobody will force them because they are part of the consortium. I cannot believe that we allowed these schools to waste millions in tax dollars all these years. One more reason we need to rid ourselves of leaders that give an ear to every hypocrite that couldn't care less about other people's money.

    1. Mr. Herskowitz, you have shown yourself to be the voice of reason many times- truly walking the line that keeps an "us vs. them" mentality between the frum and the goyim. You would've had my vote.

  7. Not the first time at all, small mosses have been combining routes for a while.

  8. Notice how quickly the vaad and askanim are running away from this bussing fiasco. First they convinced everyone the plan was all about courtesy busing now they are singing a different tune.

  9. Dont believe for one minute that the district was against combining schools and routes. Can u back your claim that the district was against saving money, as in davka not combining routes and schools ? Highly doubtful. Also why don't we have rabbonim sign a letter about this reasoning and that they are OK with the 150 dollar raise.