Lakewood's school district is facing a $4 million shortfall, fueled mainly by transportation and special education costs associated with private school children.

Lakewood school bus (

Board President Carl Fink tells the Asbury Park Press the district is broke and will seek help from the state and Ocean County. The board could not certify funds for its monthly budget as it is required to do.

Lakewood is providing transportation to more than 30,000 students who attend 103 different schools. The district offered bus services to about 19,000 private school children last year.

That compares to about 5,500 public school children in six schools.

Transportation services coordinator Gus Kakavas says the district could save $2.5 million if private girls' schools would dismiss at the same time and boys' schools dismiss at another. But the school owners won't change dismissal times.

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