Parents, students protest school bus cuts in Lakewood

People are protesting Lakewood’s decision to end a courtesy busing program. (6/11/14)

LAKEWOOD - Parents and students in a predominantly Orthodox Jewish community in Ocean County staged a protest Wednesday morning in opposition to cuts to the town's busing program.

A rabbi called on the parents of private school students to drive their children to classes on Wednesday and Thursday to protest Lakewood's decision to end a nearly $4 million courtesy busing program for an estimated 8,100 students.

The board decided on the move as a way to meet tax hike caps set by the state.

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The idea was to show the school board how crazy the roads would be without buses to drive the students to school.

One father told News 12 New Jersey it took him 45 minutes to drive three of his children to different schools, making him late for work.

Others parents say it was just a typical day in Lakewood, but all agree a compromise needs to be reached.

"I don't feel that Lakewood is built for children walking, so if they're going to get rid of courtesy busing they need to figure out a way to get the children safely to school," says Sue Arroyo.

Courtesy busing is currently provided for students who live within 2½ miles of their schools. Under the new plan, 10,000 students in fourth through 12th grade will be affected.

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