Saturday, November 19, 2011

Compromise offered to Lakewood school bus drivers in Thanksgiving controversy 

Public outcry over school bus drivers having to work on Thanksgiving to provide service for private school students has led some officials to offer a compromise, said Michael Inzelbuch, attorney for the township Board of Education.

School district bus drivers were informed recently that some of them would be required to work Thanksgiving to provide busing for private school students, many of whom are Orthodox Jewish.

Thanksgiving is a normal school day for 18,000 Orthodox students who attend private schools in the township.

Inzelbuch held a meeting Thursday morning with officials from 14 bus companies in an attempt to iron out the “challenging times of the last few days.” He said the Board of Education has been receiving calls, many from parents of Orthodox students who said they would transport their own children so bus drivers could take off Thanksgiving, a federal holiday.

Bus companies that hold contracts with the township Board of Education are required by the state Department of Education to transport students Monday through Friday, from September to June. Despite this requirement, about 22 of the 76 private schools in Lakewood have opted to require only morning bus service for their students.

In the past, private schools waived their right to district busing on Thanksgiving as a courtesy.

This year, no such waiver was offered, township school officials had said earlier in the week.

In the past, the private schools found other ways to transport the children on Thanksgiving. However, the township’s Orthodox community has grown over the years, and now many students need the bus service as a safety issue, some Orthodox leaders and other officials have said.

Of the 76 private schools that receive bus service from the township school district, all but two are Orthodox schools, Inzelbuch said.

Lakewood has about 400 private school bus routes and about 90 public school routes, said Gus Kakavas, transportation consultant to the township school board.


Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Chaptzem! Blog