New Budget Means Lakewood Students Could Lose Busing
The streets of Lakewood could be getting more packed, especially before and after school hours, as a new Township budget slashes courtesy busing for public and non-public students in grades 4-12.
The Asbury Park Press reports the cuts are part of a $151million district spending plan which was approved by a state monitor.
Instead of preserving the busing for older students who live within 2.5 miles of their school, the Board of Education opted to preserve the practice for younger students who live within 2 miles for their schools. The board also decided not to move ahead with a ballot question that would have asked voters to spend millions more to fund courtesy busing for all students in all grades.
The busing program is scheduled to end June 30, unless the district is able to come up with nearly $4 million to continue it, said Marc H. Zitomer, board attorney. During the 2013-2014 school year, the district supplies courtesy busing to approximately 10,450 students, more than 8,100 of whom are private school students.
A state monitor was called in to oversea the troubled district, which has been plagued by financial problems for years and was in a $5 million budget deficit this year-forcing them to alert the state they would run out of money around May.