Thursday, November 3, 2016

Letter: Are taxpayers paying for out of district students

This letter was posted last week on Matzav.com. A few years ago the Lakewood BOE wanted to implement proof of address or CO when registering for school.

Dear Editor@Matzav.com,

I am a father of eight living in Lakewood, NJ. I would like to share a shocking revelation that I recently discovered. I don’t know how widespread it is or whether this issue has previously been addressed.

I own a company where I employ a number of wonderful, hardworking immigrants, who are here in this country legally. I pay them well, treat them nicely, and have a good rapport with them. I believe that my company makes a kiddush Hashem in the way we treat our employees. 
The other day, I was speaking to one of my workers, who I knew had recently moved. I asked him where he was living, and he told me that he had moved to nearby Brick, NJ. I asked him where his children now go to school, and he said that they are still in the Lakewood public schools.



This surprised me, because I was under the impression that a public school student must attend a school that is in his or her township.

My employee told me that he has a number of friends who have also recently moved to nearby municipalities, such as Jackson and Toms River, or Howell, and whose children are still enrolled in the Lakewood School District. [I don’t know how they transport the children to school and things like that.]

I have no way of investigating this, but should this be true, in essence, the Lakewood School District – meaning the tax dollars of Lakewood residents – is paying for the education of children who don’t even live in the district. I never knew this was allowed by the system. Maybe I’m uninformed.

When I asked my employee how he is able to pull this off, he explained that while he lives in Brick, he still has an address of a friend in Lakewood that he uses for school-related matters. He explained that he likes the bi-lingual nature of the Lakewood public school his children attend, so he didn’t want them to leave.

If this phenomenon is widespread, we could be talking about hundreds, perhaps thousands, of students from outside the district attending Lakewood schools on the backs of Lakewood taxpayers.

Some years ago, an idea was floated to require parents to present C of Os in order to enroll their children in school. This would prevent multiple families from using the same Lakewood address as their residence. I don’t know if this makes sense or is feasible, but maybe it is necessary if there are many more people like my employee and his friends.

Most people I know are struggling to make ends meet. Many are paying $9-10,000 in taxes for townhomes. Others are paying upwards of $15,000 in property taxes. If there are students in the public school system who don’t belong there, and they are each costing taxpayers $15,000 a year or whatever tuition is, isn’t this a pressing matter that should immediately be investigated and resolved? Why isn’t there a hue and cry over this?

Can a thorough audit be done to determine how many Lakewood public school students actually live in Lakewood?

Sincerely,

A Hardworking Breadwinner

Lakewood, NJ
Source Matzav.com

38 comments:

  1. I have insider knowledge that this is correct.
    The school district doesn't care, because the more kids in the public school system, the better their job security is.
    The Board of Ed is powerless to investigate.

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  2. This is 100% true.
    This is the reason why the number of kids in the public school in Lakewood has not gone down over the years, notwithstanding that there are less and less houses that have non-religious jews occupying them.


    For some reason our BOE has not instituted the same policy that other NJ towns have (such as Neptune), when registering kids in the school the CO to the residence must be provided. This forces them to confirm that they live in the town, and does not allow multiple families to register under the same address. So if the CO is for a one family, that's it - only one family registers under that address.

    Why can't we do the same?

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  3. This is going on for the last few years. Go every morning to the lakewood brick border see the kids coming from brick. The numbers don't add up so many immigrants of the Latino have moved out of Lakewood how could the number of students double and keeps going up.
    Piner elementary is full of pre K non mandated and perhaps coming from other municipalities.

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  4. Write in Shlomo Chaim Kanarek for the BOE. It's time that we have transparency at the board.

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  5. Does anyone know how much local taxpayer money goes to local private schools?

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    1. Zero. The private schools get grant money from the State for textbooks ,technology ,Title 1 tutoring,nursing etc. These funds are from the State and some are Federal funds that go throughout State. The State gives these funds to the local district so the district includes this money in their budget. But it does not increase the local taxpayer real estate tax levy. It might increase your income tax that you pay to the State like any State expenditure ,but its not a local tax issue. Some of the mandated busing money does come from the local taxpayer ,but busing money goes to parents and students and not to the schools.

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    2. no tax money goes to private schools.
      i think 24 million goes to LSTA mandated busing for private school children (not to the schools).
      textbooks, title 1, and other special services are all funded by federal or state money.
      schi - which is basically a public school - receives about 25 million directly and another few million for busing.

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    3. Its about 15 or 16 million to busing not 24 million. And some of that comes from the State not the local tax dollar. And busing hors to students ,not to schools.

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  6. Do not vote for incumbents that have obviously been asleep at the wheel. Only vote for new candidates.

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    1. SCHI takes a big chunk of local money.

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    2. Schi is not one of our Mosdos. It is technically educating public school special ed kids and charging the district tuition for those public school kids.

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    3. The incumbents actually on the BOE are not asleep at the wheel. They have No financial power because the state monitor overrules them. They do work very hard to try to help your children get some if the service's they are entitled to. Without them ,the frum kids would get zero services. The literally fight every day to get us the few services that we do get.

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    4. The state monitor is here precisely because of the incompetence at the BOE for the last 10 years. The members were placed there by igud or vaad had no idea what they were doing and were used as puppets by well connected askanim who had agendas or taking care of their own schools but did not look out for the tzibbur at large.

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    5. annon 11:49
      that's not really true. the monitor officially came in because of the 2011 audit which had a few million of mis-allocated state funds. almost all that money was misused by the public school (as the boe lawyer has confirmed).
      in any event, every district around here has a deficit in the millions. Toms River is begging the state for a handout. Brick has a huge deficit. And Howell also has a huge deficit (and last year had a big scandal and a couple people were fired for ripping of boe money.)
      The point is that the state public school funding formula doesn't work for anyone besides the welfare Abbot districts. Hopefully Christie's fairness formula will take effect and help a bit.

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    6. The state monitor is here because the formula is flawed and as we grow ,the deficit keeps growing. So try to stick to the facts and the truth. If anything,what really happened was that a number of years ago ,there was a froyo of people elected to the BOE that card only about keeping taxes down with no thought to the future. So they used all the surplus money to,put raise taxes for a couple if years. They didn't realize that after 2 years we ended up with a huge deficit and the budget cap don't allow them to raise taxes more than 2 per cent. So we got a State monitor. Its ironic but it was actually that froyo that for us the Monitor. They meant well to keep taxes down,but actually made the problem worse in the long run. Bottom line as long as the formula isn't changed we will always gave a huge deficit and will always gave a monitor. So stop blaming people for your lack,of the facts.

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    7. Nice spin but its your opinion not facts. Two Roshei mosdos had personal interest in putting up BOE members to help out with Catapult and other programs that is a FACT!!
      Funding formula is a big reason why we are shortchanged but not the only culprit. and yes Schi eats up half of our education budget too.

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    8. The facts are that at this moment the funding formula and Schi will always leave us in deficit mode. So regardless about your opinion about what happened 5 years ago,today it us not the fault if any incumbents. Those who know ,know that these 2 incumbents have no self interest and give many hours of their time to help students get services.

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    9. Can you explain the spending by the BOE this past year?
      lease approval of $3 million to sudexo management at the Piner elementary building by the BOE?
      Can you explain the purchase of computers and gadgets at 4x the market price?
      Or the purchase of school buses at triple market value

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    10. The spending is fully controlled by the monitor. These boe members can't do anything about it. State laws are crazy but they buy only from State approved vendors,so even if its half price on Amazon or eBay they can't and won't but it.

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    11. Sodexo lease was approved by the BOE prior to the state monitor.

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    12. How about the rent for the BOE offices at its previous location (close to 3 million dollars a year lease) that was eventually terminated when it discovered by a board member.

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    13. Did you go speak with the BOE members about their votes and try to get their explanation? Or do you just think bashing them on a blog before you even give them the courtesy of a question is the way to go . The meetings are open to the public. Did you go and ask ?

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    14. The BOE members never spoke to the community or reached out. They were placed as write in candidates by the igud and vaad. All we can do is look at their records and our tax bill.

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  7. Is schi considered a private or public school or does it double dip ?

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    1. It is private. But it charges tuition to the public school to service public school,kids who the public school decided can not be servicrd in the local public school. So the kids in Schi are public school,kids but the actual school is private.

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    2. Why do they collect from the heimish olam if their budget is fully covered by the district?

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    3. Supposedly ,they only collect for the summer camp. A portion of the summer us not covered by the BOE. You can ask them directly to verify.

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    4. Whenever I'm approached by SCHI I reply that I give them enough....

      I've been told that due to the high quality of the SCHI program, many frum families who otherwise have no connection to Lakewood, move here. We are a magnet for Special Needs kids from across the country.

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  8. A co should be required for private school busing also. Illegal apartments should not be getting busing as they are not paying their fair share of taxes.

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    1. basement apartments are legal in Lakewood.

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    2. I know I am referring to basement apts that were not done legally and other types of illegal apts

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  9. What is being done about the letter writers concerns is the BOE going to investigate or take action?

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  10. You can't just investigate one thing because it bothers you. If you want to investigate you will have to investigate the whole town. Vhameivin yavin their are many people who would not like that. That is why this will never happen.

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  11. I can't hurt to call and email the elected officials requesting that this be addressed. They have become much more responsive to requests from the public, and will bend to their will.

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  12. The reason nothing is being done and the proof of residence by showing the CO is not in effect is because the askanim didn't want it. They are afraid that this will also effect the illegal apartments and then private school kids would not be getting busing.

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    1. The cost of an extra 500 kids in public school dosent compare to the amount of kids that are in so called illegal apts. its like saying lets spend another 30 million dollars to save a few hundred grand.

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    2. Yup you are correct but unfortunately that's the way the askanim think.

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  13. Ask Meir Lichtenstein why a CO is not needed to enroll in public schools. Simple answer. When more than one CO comes from a single family residence what do you do? Meir manages these properties and would like to avoid any problems. What if one of Menashes basement apartments applied for busing? How do they get busing from an address that has the mayor living in it? They both should resign and then we may be able to save our town. With M and M in office,nothing positive can get done.

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