Lakewood Circus

The Lakewood Board of Education continues  its clownish efforts to pander to the Orthodox Jewish community. In this case, the high beams are trained on financially unsustainable efforts to maintain the Board’s practice of busing 20,000 yeshiva students according to rabbinical edicts. These edicts include gender-specific buses, not combining bus routes among the 97 yeshivas in the city,  and not coordinating start and dismissal times.

The District currently faces as much as an $11 million deficit: $5 million in discrepancies between revenues raised and expenses, and as much as $6 million due in reimbursements to federal and state agencies for falsifying grant documents.

At the last Board meeting, reports the Asbury Park Press,
the school board voted not to rehire Gus Kakavas, Lakewood’s transportation coordinator, or Thomas D’Ambola, the district’s business administrator, said Marc Zitomer, an attorney for the board. That vote, however, was overruled by Michael Azzara, the state-appointed monitor who oversees the district.
D’Ambola is set to make $155,000 and Kakavas is set to make $120,000 during the upcoming school year, Zitomer said.
Several board members blamed Kakavas for Lakewood standing to lose courtesy busing for students in grades 4-12 and D’Ambola for not finding the $4 million to pay for the service offered to children who live within 2.5 miles of their schools, said board Vice President Tracey Tift, who voted to bring them back.