Something Farshtunkene* in Lakewood

When news broke last year that the FBI raided homes of 26 Lakewood ultra-Orthodox residents on charges of wrongfully collecting Medicaid, food stamps, SNAP, and SSI benefits, as well as evading property taxes that fund schools and municipal activities (see here), New Jersey Comptroller Philip J. Degnan issued a statement that said participants must make “full restitution of all improperly received funds.” Unless, that is, if you’re a Lakewood Board of Education member. Or maybe just …

Hannukah Gelt or Coal in Your Stocking? Checking in on Lakewood.

Stacey Barchenger of the Asbury Park Press is indefatigable in her investigations into the shenanigans in Lakewood Public Schools. Example: last week she reported that the district, which operates as a funding stream for 130+ private religious ultra-Orthodox Jewish day schools, used $1.6 million in federal money intended for secular material to buy religious textbooks. This is a violation of New Jersey state law and federal law. Welcome to Lakewood. From the APP story: The …

Inzelbuch asks, Where Is the Oversight in Lakewood? He Needs To Widen His Lens.

Michael Inzelbuch, Lakewood Public Schools’ Board Attorney, is in a lather, according to the Asbury Park Press. “The process seems to have broken down,” he frothed at the most recent school board meeting. “There’s no uniformity here. It’s a free-for-all. Where is the oversight?” Is he talking the district’s practice of sending ultra-Orthodox children with disabilities to yeshivas that don’t meet the state’s definition of a “school”? Is he talking about the misuse of $22 …

Guest Post: The State Must Immediately Take Over the Lakewood Board of Education

Michael Hoban was an educator for 48 years, teaching at the elementary, high school and university levels.  He was a university professor of mathematics for 35 years, is a Professor Emeritus at the City University of NY, and has lived in Lakewood for 14 years. Prof. Hoban is the senior educational consultant to Lakewood U.N.I.T.E., the group that advocates for minority families in Lakewood. This post originally appeared in the Asbury Park Press. A June 20 column by Randy Bergmann, Asbury Park Press …

Lakewood Update: HOW much Per Student?

Tonight the Lakewood Board of Education has a public meeting. Board agendas are typically unrevealing — you get to see the action items to be voted on but not the public comments, discussions, or presentations — but Lakewood, as always, is the exception to the rule. So, let’s have a look-see. First, the boilerplate language stipulating that the district is solvent is stated this way: Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 6A:23A-16.10, I, Kevin Campbell Interim Business Administrator/ …

Does the State Have the Courage To Take Over Lakewood Public Schools?

Jonathan Shutman,Ed.D., is a retired school principal and administrator who has worked in the Marlboro, North Brunswick, and Montclair public school districts. He is presently a part-time support ESL and math teacher for CNA and LPN students at the Monmouth County Vocational School District. He is the author of  “Disability Abuse in Educational Settings.” The recent news reported by Stacey Barchenger, “Lakewood School Board Lawyer’s $600,000 Contract Breaks Rules” reports the additional $29,000 in family health …

It’s Time for An Intervention in Lakewood

Here’s the aspiring interventionist, Deputy Assistant Education Commissioner Glenn Forney, doing the hard work of setting boundaries for the Lakewood Board of Education, specifically regarding its contract with Board Attorney Michael Inzelbuch: I have determined that the invoices and requests for payment submitted by the Board Counsel [Inzelbuch] do not meet the regulatory requirements…Please confirm through the State Monitor that these prior billing and remittance practices have ceased. Failure to do so may result in further …

Rumor Mill in Lakewood Heating Up in Advance of Tonight’s Board Meeting

The rumor mill in Lakewood is abuzz as the Board of Education gets ready for tonight’s meeting. If anyone can suggest some factual information, please use the comment section. Inquiring minds want to know. Rumor #1: Is Board Attorney Michael Inzelbuch really resigning? Someone seems to think so. Rumor #2: How displeased is the Lakewood community with the state’s “loan” of $28 million and the Board’s agreement to start paying it back in a year, …

Guest Post: Does the Murphy Administration “Have the Courage” to Take Over Lakewood Public Schools?

Michael Hoban was an educator for 48 years, teaching at the elementary, high school and university levels.  He was a university professor of mathematics for 35 years, is a Professor Emeritus at the City University of NY, and has lived in Lakewood for 14 years. Prof. Hoban is the senior educational consultant to Lakewood U.N.I.T.E., the group that advocates for minority families in Lakewood. This post originally appeared in the Asbury Park Press. Most of us are …

Five Take-Aways from Lakewood’s Most Recent School Board Meeting

As a public service, I just watched last week’s two and a half-hour meeting of the Lakewood School Board that, once again, was run by board attorney Michael Inzelbuch. Here are five take-aways.  Lakewood Board Accepts State Loan of $28 million: Inzelbuch, referring to the loan: “The state grant — I mean ‘loan.’ That was Freudian.” Aaron Hirsch during public comments: “It’s like a snowball effect. We keep taking out loans. At some point we’ll be …