Is the Lakewood Board of Education Breaking State Law?

Today the Star-Ledger reports that Barry Iann, the President of the Lakewood Board of Education, quit on Monday night. He’s giving up, he says, because there’s too much bad press and there’s not enough funding. He’s right about the district’s fiscal mess; while Lakewood is indeed under-funded, much of the liability for the annual shortfall, about $15 million per year, falls squarely on the Board because it participates in the practice of paying tuition to …

Lakewood’s Biggest Fan: Save Our Schools-NJ Supports the Tyranny of the Majority

Occasionally I check Save Our Schools-NJ’s Facebook page to keep tabs on the anti-choice/accountability crowd. Topping the newsfeed yesterday was an indignant post about the approval of five new charter school applications. Typical pablum, right? Charter schools cost money and so they are bad.  Charter schools don’t have to hire NJEA members (unless the teachers choose to unionize) and so they are bad. Charter schools threaten the traditional school monopoly because, among the best ones, …

Guest Post: “The Morality Problem Lurking Below the Surface in Lakewood”

This is a guest post from Thomas G. Gatti, a Lakewood resident and supporter of municipal and educational equity. Gatti is a media consultant and former Chief Operating Officer of the College Television Network. He was previously COO of  DIR Broadcasting and an executive at Eastman Radio. (For those of you new to Lakewood’s history of shortchanging non-ultra Orthodox schoolchildren and residents, see here, here, and here. For complete NJLB coverage, click here.) ******************************************************************  I …

Follow the Money: A Guest Post from a Lakewood Resident

Once again the Lakewood Public Schools has been bailed out of their financial hole. This has become a rite of spring. The school-age population in Lakewood is around 35,000, of which only 6,000 children are public school students. Lakewood Schools have demographics like no other school district in New Jersey. The school district spends over 15 million dollars on courtesy busing for the 120 nonpublic ultra-Orthodox yeshivas in the Township. Additionally, special education costs for …

Two Other Lakewood-Related Items

Number one: the Star-Ledger reports that Tobree Mostel, the supervisor of the district’s office of Chapter 192 and 193 funding  (the line items for tax dollars that contribute to tuition for special education students to attend ultra-Orthodox yeshivas) was fired for confronting the Lakewood School Board about improprieties. From the Ledger: Mostel claims in the notice that she was targeted after she objected to “certain questionable and unethical practices” by a third-party vendor handling the evaluations …

“Culture of Fear” in Lakewood Cheats Children of Color

The New Jersey Department of Education announced last week that it will give Lakewood Public Schools an “advance” of $8.5 million in state aid money (presumably from next year’s payments) to help bridge a $15 million budget gap. Superintendent Laura Winters told the Asbury Park Press that “it isn’t enough.” She’s right. It will take a lot more than $8.5 million — indeed, a lot more than $15 million — to adequately educate 6,000 low-income …