State Commissioner of Education David Hespe is being asked to answer an Administrative Petition filed on behalf of a group of Lakewood public and private school students. Listen to Rosetta Key's report

The petition, filed by four public school students and one private school student Monday, contends that the New Jersey Department of Education is underfunding the Lakewood School District by not recognizing them as a low income area.

"What I am asking for is at least under the law, as it's written now, that we should be fully funded", said Attorney Arthur Lang, who's also a district math teacher. "We should be considered just like any of the other school districts that are not income-wealthy."

Lang said the state also needs to offer a provision in the school funding formula that will alleviate the effect of serving 30,000 children on a budget that's only meant for 5,500 kids.

Lang's press release states:

"As a teacher in Lakewood High School, I have first-hand knowledge of the effects that inadequate funding have on my students. Over the last decade, I have seen the decimation of one the best faculties in the state, the closure of an extremely popular vocational program, and the loss of educational support for my struggling students. This has left our most needy children with little hope for a successful future. This because, the State of New Jersey, treats Lakewood as if it were a wealthy district; that with a population of 108,000 it should easily provide for 5,500 public school students."

The petition was delivered to the offices of the State Commissioner of Education in Trenton at around 11:00 a.m., according to Lang. He said administrate remedies must be exhausted before bringing matters like these to court. Lang said Commissioner Hespe has 20 days to answer the petition or to refer it to an Administrative Law Judge. He said disputed Decisions can go through an appeals process in court.