Lakewood Teachers Have 67 Questions For Lakewood Officials Determined to Reopen Schools Full-Time In-Person

The Lakewood Education Association, which represents all Lakewood teachers, paraprofessionals, and other staff, is hitting back against the district’s/attorney Michael Inzelbuch’s insistence on reopening schools full-time in-person. Last weekend Inzelbuch sent this letter to the union leaders. The union’s response? Sixty-seven questions, reproduced below. More generally, Dawn Hiltner, spokesperson for the Lakewood Education Association, told 101.5, Let’s say we get everybody back and then in three weeks we wind up having to shut everything down …

Inzelbuch’s Letter to Union Leaders Says Lakewood Isn’t Risking Covid Contagion With Full-Time In-Person Schools

Below is a letter, dated yesterday, from Lakewood attorney Michael Inzelbuch to the leaders of the Lakewood Education Association, Kimberlee Shaw and Tracy Paolantonio. Lakewood Public Schools, Inzelbuch informs the union officers, “is committed to provide full-time in person education for the 2020-2021 school year” and asks for a meeting to discuss a mandatory COVID testing plan for staff members. For context, Lakewood, distinguishing itself from other New Jersey school districts, held in-person Extended School Year programs …

Lakewood Follies: Inzelbuch Lawyers Up (At District Expense)

The agenda for Wednesday evening’s Lakewood Board of Education meeting included two items, both involving BOE attorney Michael Inzelbuch, well-known for his $750,000 annual salary and complete dominance over district matters. These agenda items may be clues to his and the Board’s concerns over pending litigation that alleges the districts retaliated against an employee who was, in effect, a whistleblower. It’s not that complicated. Here are agenda items 38 and 39 (page 3): 38. The …

Musical Chairs at Lakewood Public Schools

Last year the Lakewood Board of Education appointed a new principal and assistant principal for Lakewood High School. Last Wednesday the Board did it again, setting a pattern for what appears to be a practice of promoting instability and community distress as these new moves mean that Lakewood High School students will have had three principals and assistant principals in one year. Last August the Board transferred Principal Marcy Marshall and Vice Principal Douglas Riley …

Betsy DeVos Leaves Low-Income Students Behind: Example, Lakewood

In 1997 Michael Kinsley wrote, “the scandal isn’t the illegal behavior–the scandal is what’s legal.” He was referring to allegations about fund-raising corruption in the Clinton Administration but he might have been writing about Lakewood Public Schools, at least under the federal oversight of Trump’s Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. Why? (And why do I write about Lakewood so much?) Because this Ocean County district is an emblem of how inequity permeates New Jersey’s educational infrastructure …

Breaking News: NJEA Lawyers Demand Lakewood Schools Stop Violating State Social Distancing Orders

Last week the law firm Selikoff & Cohen sent a seven-page letter on behalf of NJEA and the union’s local Lakewood arm to Superintendent Laura Winters demanding that the district “cease and desist its blatant violation of  violation of Executive Orders 104 and 107 and the guidance issued by the New Jersey Department of Education on school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The letter is cc’d to the president of the local union, the president …

Notes From New Jersey: Contemplating COVID-19 and Lakewood.

Here in New Jersey, the second hardest-hit state in the country after New York, we’re scrambling to control the coronavirus. Currently we have 25,590 confirmed cases, with many symptomatic people untested and a 160,000 test backlog at Quest Labs. There have been almost 550 deaths and we’re at least two weeks away from hitting the projected peak. About a quarter of all nursing homes are infected. Newark, East Orange, Orange, and Irvinington are on a …

Your Taxes At Work in Lakewood: Trick or Treat?

I’ve been neglecting Lakewood and so decided to pop over to the district website and check the most recent School Board meeting agenda. The date said October 31st at 6:30, which I thought was odd: That’s prime Halloween trick-or-treating time. Why would a Board schedule a public meeting — the only opportunity for parents and community members to address their representatives — for a time slot that guarantees almost all public school parents have prior commitments? …

Two Rebellions in Lakewood: Latinx Parents Fight For Their Children While the Board Contests School Quality Scores.

“The board has no interest and shows no respect for us,” Norma Morales, mother of two Lakewood schools students, said in Spanish. “I feel very disappointed for how disrespectful they are, for how they treat us.” “We want to expose the abuse of power and the irregularities happening in our schools,” Ana Benito, mother of two Lakewood schools students, said in Spanish. “They’re not doing their job, and our children don’t have teachers and are …

In 2015 Lakewood Tried to Economize Busing But The Yeshivas Scotched the Plan.

Look below you’ll see a clip from a June 2015 Lakewood Board of Education meeting. At this meeting, State Fiscal Monitor Michael Azzara announced that, due to pushback from the Mosdos, which represent Lakewood yeshivas, the district will no longer provide courtesy busing to any Lakewood student, public or private. Why? The previous year the Mosdos agreed to a small pilot program that sought to cut transportation costs, which last year ran to about $30 …