$4 million budget shortfall forces Lakewood to stop busing students older than 3rd grade to schools
LAKEWOOD - Thousands of students in Lakewood won't be bused to school this September, thanks to the district's new budget.
Parents of some children in the Ocean County school district will have to find their own transportation.
Mother of three Antelma Campos says many families in Lakewood don't have cars. Without busing, she fears her kids and others forced to walk won't get to school safely.
Melanie Morris points out that many parents work long, odd hours to make ends meet. She fears the elimination of busing will mean higher absenteeism. "How are the kids going to go to school," says Morris. "Some of the older ones watch the child, so they get on the bus together."
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School officials say busing for students in 4th to 12th grades in public and private schools will end June 30, unless the district can come up with nearly $4 million to continue the program.
Louis Brown says losing busing is a shame, but prefers this elimination over other proposed cuts. "They want to get rid of the basketball, sports," he says. "We already have nothing."
Ibrahim Muhammad says Lakewood students deserve better and is encouraging parents who want changes to get more involved and even run for the school board. "No taxation without representation," he says. "We need representation."
Students in kindergarten through 3rd grade will still be bused.