LAKEWOOD, N.J. — Asbury Park Press reports that school officials are trying to find a way to avert a call for parents to drive thousands of children to their private schools on Tuesday and Wednesday as a protest against the rollback of publicly funded courtesy busing.
Last month, the Lakewood Public Schools Board of Education eliminated all courtesy busing from the 2014-15 budget as a way to meet tax hike caps set by the state, planning to ask voters to approve money for the practice as part of a separate referendum.
Lakewood Public Schools Superintendent of Schools Laura Winters told the newspaper that regardless of the outcome of the talks between public and non-public school officials, all school buses will be in service on Tuesday and Wednesday. She added that the district does not plan to stagger public school start times or make any other changes as a response to the protest.
Last week, Rabbi Yisroel Schenkolewski, a longtime political and Orthodox Jewish community leader, signed off on a letter on behalf of a consortium of private Orthodox schools in Lakewood calling for the parents of nonpublic school students to drive their children to classes and not allow them to ride the buses. Schenkolewski wants parents to fill the streets with cars on days when the buses are available as a "drill" for what may happen in September, when the nearly $4 million courtesy busing practice is due to end for an estimated 8,100 students.
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