“It’s Good To Be The King!” A (Sort of Fake) Interview with Lamont Repollet Where I Get To Ask the Questions.

Last week NJ Spotlight’s John Mooney  interviewed Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet on NJTV. (Here’s his write-up, which includes a link to the full video.) I confess to a bit of jealousy: With all the turmoil roiling around the Commissioner and the Department of Education, I have a few questions myself.  And so, as a sort of wish-fulfillment exercise, I decided to ask my own questions here which include requests for elaboration on some of Repollet’s …

Senator Steve Sweeney Wrote a Letter to Ed. Comm. Lamont Repollet About Lakewood. Also, How Much Does Inzelbuch Really Make?

In August Senator Sweeney wrote a letter to Comm. Repollet asking, among other things, whether the DOE has considered auditing Lakewood, NJ’s most insolvent district, and what he thinks of Board Attorney Michael Inzelbuch’s $600,000 annual salary (plus benefits) which, he notes, is “six times higher than the national average.” The Senate President is likely displeased by the discovery made by the Asbury Park Press that Inzelbuch actually was paid $715,000 last year. David Sciarra …

“It’s Embarrassing to Work For the NJ DOE These Days and Pretend That the Emperor Has Brains and Clothes!”: Staff Take Umbrage at “Employee Appreciation Week”

Last week, New Jersey Department of Education’s staff members’ inboxes filled up with cheery reminders from their supervisors regarding “NJ DOE Employee Appreciation Week.” An outsider would assume that these missives would be welcome. They weren’t. Instead, I heard from a number of demoralized staff members who regarded the many activities planned — golfing, picnics, biking, racing, food trucks, contests, entertainment — as just so much bluster from an Administration focused not on education but …

Why, Asked a Tweeter, Is Asbury Park Public Schools’ Cost Per Pupil Over $40K? Here’s My Answer.

Such a good question, Madeline! What does Asbury Park Public Schools do with all that money, even as enrollment declines? With schools all over the state cutting costs, why is this happening? I mean, $42K a kid? Those students must be academic superstars! After all, that’s the basis for New Jersey’s Abbott decisions: As Education Law Center explains, ELC’s legal and policy advocacy, which includes such landmark rulings as Abbott v. Burke, has significantly advanced the …

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 …

A Request from Lakewood’s Michael Inzelbuch and Some Musings.

This morning I got a call from Lakewood Public Schools attorney Michael Inzelbuch. He asked that I clarify an article in the Asbury Park Press, since corrected, that discusses how a Shared Services agreement between the Township and the district fell apart. The original deal said that the Township would take over the duties of the now-defunct Lakewood Transportation Student Authority (LTSA), which ended the year $3 million in the red despite parents of non-public …

Michael Inzelbuch and I Have Another Email Exchange: A Lakewood Update.

On Friday I wrote a post that described Lakewood Board of Education’s July 1st meeting when the Board shut down the school district because the State Legislature eliminated Phil Murphy’s $30 million gift to Lakewood. Later that day the Board re-opened the schools upon news that Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet magically found $36 million in the DOE budget to make Lakewood whole. I also printed two emails between myself and Board attorney Michael Inzelbuch because …

As Goes Lakewood, So Goes New Jersey? Lakewood As a Microcosm of the Garden State.

On Monday night the Lakewood Board of Education held a public meeting that, per tradition, didn’t lack for theatrics. When Governor Phil Murphy handed his 592-page budget to the State Legislature in March, tucked into page 171 was a 63.66% increase in the form of  “provisional stabilization aid” a category that applies solely to Lakewood, far more than the funding formula allows, as well as Lakewood-only increases in special education and transportation aid. The Lakewood …

What’s At the Heart of Lakewood’s Problems? The Answer Is Bigger Than Cash.

On Tuesday, right after I put up this post, Lakewood Public Schools’ attorney Michael Inzelbuch filed an emergency motion to stop implementation of the budget produced by the Legislature (which Governor Murphy hasn’t signed yet).  You can see the full complaint at the bottom of this Lakewood Scoop article. An addendum notes that, in addition to the Legislature eliminating Lakewood’s $45 million in additional aid (unavailable to other underfunded districts), the Legislature’s proposed budget also …

Promises, Promises: Does New Jersey’s Education Commissioner Care?

Every year school administrators and central office staff wig out right before October 15th. Why? That’s the date when districts must submit detailed files on student enrollment data to the New Jersey Department of Education through a platform called NJSMART. So much, including state aid, rides on this count (this file is the first submission of the funding process) and so there’s always a mad scramble to make sure numbers accurately reflect the number of …