Parents of Yeshiva Students in Toms River to Receive Bussing

By Hamodia Staff

The Toms River Board of Education has approved a contract with the Lakewood Student Transportation Authority (LSTA), potentially allowing busing services to be provided for thousands of children during the 2024-2025 school year who have not been receiving busing until now.

“The commitment demonstrated by the Board in reaching this agreement underscores a dedication to ensuring the safety of students within the Toms River Township community,” Agudath Israel’s New Jersey office wrote as they welcomed the news. “Agudath Israel commends the Board’s proactive efforts to address the crucial need for reliable transportation solutions, as the township continues to grow.”

New Jersey law mandates that school districts provide busing to eligible students within the district. But as communities continue to grow and expand beyond district borders, parents of students who do not meet eligibility criteria are forced to spend hours in the car every day transporting their children to and from school.

The LSTA created efficient bus routes for the over 50,000 schoolchildren in Lakewood Township for its three-year trial period, and during the following five years. With the busing no longer managed by the district, children for whom busing was not mandated could now buy into the system and receive busing. In addition, private consortiums do not have the same limits as a government agency in negotiating contracts with bus companies, affording the LSTA more flexibility and favorable contracts.

Earlier this year, the Jackson Township Board of Education signed a similar agreement making this the second under a new law signed by Governor Phil Murphy following nearly a decade of advocacy by Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey Office, Lakewood Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein, and others.

“As envisioned, the busing bill will have far-reaching implications for school children around the state, including in East Brunswick, Howell, Linden, Deal, and many other municipalities,” said Shlomo Schorr, Director of Legislative Affairs for Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey Office. “We look forward to hearing of similar agreements with districts around the state.”

“Assemblyman Avi Schnall (D-30) has been working tirelessly on this issue for nearly eight years, and we are extremely grateful for his advocacy on this issue, as well as the sponsors of the bill, Assemblyman Louis Greenwald (D-6), and Senators Vin Gopal (D-11) and Bob Singer (R-30),” Schorr added.

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