A recent article written by Josh Pruzansky, who is the New Jersey Director of Political Affairs and Public Policy for the Orthodox Union in New Jersey explained the need, and benefits of private(and public) school busing in New Jersey. All of his points were generally correct and valid and Josh should be commended for being at the forefront of trying to help the embattled parents of private school children in Lakewood that are paying property taxes, yet benefit little from the public school system.Unfortunately his explanations for the need to fund busing for private schoolchildren no longer applies to Lakewood.
The argument that we benefit little from the school system, so we should at least get busing has been repeated year after year for almost thirty years. The threat that we could enroll our children in public school, so the taxpayers should thank us, is as old as the town clock in the square. There is one serious flaw to this logic.
WE ARE THE TAXPAYERS, AND WE PAY FOR THE BUSING!
Yes, there was a time, not long ago, when there were thousands of children in the public school system. The parents of many of these children paid property tax. Although there were many in the Jewish community paying as well, the cost of private school and courtesy busing was shared by public and private school taxpayers. The cost of private school students that required busing was minimal to the overall cost of our public school system.
In the past ten years there has been a paradigm shift in the public and private school balance. As the Jewish community moved in, many Public school families moved. The public schools were left with one third of their students. Eventually the Hispanic population growth doubled the public school enrollment with the added cost of educating students that require English as a second Language(ESL). Added to that was now the cost of private busing which grew every year by approximately two thousand students.
Now we are in an entirely different situation. Most of the taxpayers do not use the public school system, yet fund it almost entirely. The children attending public school often live in rental homes that do not produce tax revenue commensurate with the cost of educating its tenants. Added to that is the cost of busing which has ballooned to 20 million dollars a year.The argument that we deserve busing for our tax money is ridiculous. We are paying for it ourselves, and we can't afford it. Perhaps the time has come to put an end to a wasteful ineffective system that has grown so large, it is no longer a help to the struggling taxpaying private school parents. Privatizing busing and allowing parents to pay for each child that uses it may cost more for taxpayers with many school age children, but the overall waste of a gargantuan busing system will be put to rest.
Of course there would be those that would not be able to afford the added cost of paying for busing. We could easily implement a system similar to the school lunch program to help pay for those that cannot afford it. By ridding ourselves of the out of control busing system we can prevent the waste from corruption and overcharging that always goes along with any service that is provided by a government agency. The BOE prides itself on appearing to save the taxpayer money, Now they need to actually save the taxpayers from themselves