LAKEWOOD - The Lakewood School District says it has $4 million in debt, and officials say it is because of the high number of students that attend private schools.

Board President Carl Fink declined to comment to News 12 New Jersey Wednesday, but board members announced at Monday's meeting that they may not have enough money to finish off the school year.

The shortfall comes because the number of private school students is said to have unexpectedly doubled.

The state mandates that any student who lives within 20 miles of a private school must be able to take a district bus, which means the district is now providing transportation for more than 30,000 students attending 103 different schools.

Some residents believe that transportation is an unnecessary cost. "I don't think they're entitled to having private school transportation," says Cindy Hersch. "If you can't pay for the transportation, then I guess your parents are going to have to drive you to school.”

The school board is hoping for assistance from state or national sources.