The Soprano State, Muhammed Akil, and PC2E: A Jersey Story

Here’s part of Friday’s press release from the Newark-based organization Parent Coalition for Excellent Schools, or PC2E: Today the Parent Coalition for Excellent Education (PC2E) announced Founder and Executive Director Muhammed Akil is resigning from the organization to pursue other professional opportunities effective Friday, November 10, 2017…“One of the main objectives of PC2E’s Action Fund was to give the charter school sector a strong political voice in Newark,” said Mr. Akil. “The formation and success …

Anyone Have Some Dragonglass?

Superintendents aren’t going to advocate for eliminating their jobs. School business administrators aren’t going to advocate for eliminating their jobs. School boards are not going to want to just get rid of their power. That’s Newton Township Mayor Wayne Levante acknowledging that his proposal to consolidate Sussex County’s 25 school districts has as much chance of gaining support as Brienne of Tarth slipping into Melania Trump’s stilettos. Those 25 districts, by the way, have a total …

Education Law Center Files Complaint with Attorney General Re: Lakewood Board’s Hiring of Inzelbuch

Yesterday Education Law Center’ Executive Director David Sciarra sent a formal complaint to the Office of the Attorney General in Trenton. The letter is addressed to Director Michelle Miller and references “Lakewood BOE [Board of Education] Legal Services Contract: Request for Investigation.” Click on this:: Lakewood BOE Legal Services Miller Letter For those of you playing catch-up — a large cohort, no doubt, given the histrionic dysfunction of Lakewood Public School District — the Board recently …

What’s A Little Extortion Among Friends? Lakewood School Board Rehires Inzelbuch

There’s so much news out of Lakewood that it’s hard to keep up. The latest is that the School Board has voted to rehire Michael Inzelbuch as its Board Attorney and “Non-Public Special Education Consultant.”  The latter title doesn’t exist outside of Lakewood but that’s Lakewood for you. Inzelbuch previously served in this post from 2002 until 2012 but was fired, according to the Asbury Park Press, for being in “the center of controversies over …

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 …

Can You Cough Up $20K a Year? Welcome To The Top New Jersey “Public” Schools!

  Tuition Rates—2015-2016 RESOLVED, that the Board of Education approve the revised tuition rates for the 2015-2016 school year as follows: Elementary Schools Pre-K Full-Day Program $13,000 Kindergarten Full-Day Program $16,953 Grades 1-5 $19,029 Grades 6-8 $17,691 Grades 9-12 $17,831 Special Education Autism $90,913 Learning and/or Language Disability $23,603 Cranbury Sending/Receiving Tuition Grades 9-12 $17,345 What you see here is a section of the Princeton Regional Public School Board’s April 2015 Minutes that set tuition rates …

Surprised By the Lakewood FBI Arrests on Welfare Fraud? Don’t Be: Just Look at the Schools

Lakewood was the subject of much media attention last week, from USA Today to the Wall Street Journal to the Associated Press. Why the sudden interest? Because FBI agents and county police began arresting local Haredim (ultra-Orthodox Jews) on charges of defrauding state and federal programs by claiming poverty and wrongfully collecting Medicaid, food stamps, SNAP, and SSI benefits, as well as evading property taxes that fund schools and municipal activities. If you’re a regular …

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 …

Lakewood Public Schools is Actually a Funding Stream for a Jewish Special Education School

Lakewood Public Schools just asked the state for a “loan” of 10 million dollars to partially bail it out of a $15 million hole in its 2017-2018 budget. This gift from the State would follow last year’s gift of $6 million yet still leave the district $5 million short.  Superintendent Laura Winters, who reportedly won’t be renewed by the Board, told the public that without the extra money she would be forced to lay off …

Road Trip for Responders to David Leonhardt’s Charter/Voucher Editorial!

Last week David Leonhardt wrote an editorial in the New York Times that looks at two types of school choice, public charter schools and voucher programs, that, he says, are often conflated into a “misleading caricature.”  Several days after his column ran, the Times published seven Letters to the Editor that mostly succumb to the very caricature that Leonhardt warns against. While Leonhardt indulges in  a few over-generalizations himself, it’s worth picking apart several of …