Lakewood Schools Reopened After Budget-Induced Shutdown

School Attorney Michael Inzelbuch during the emergency meeting on July 1st, 2019 (Photo courtesy Lakewood School District)

  LAKEWOOD – After a brief shutdown, the Lakewood Public School District has reopened its doors after a $36 million loan was promised from the New Jersey Department of Education.

  A $30,050,890 hole in district funding stopped Lakewood schools from operating on July 1, forcing nearly 1,000 students to stay home. While most students are done for the year, the shutdown affected some special education students who require year-round educational programs.

  The closure occurred after the school board had a change of heart, voiding a budget it had passed a week earlier to avoid a shutdown like this one.

  “We apologize for what Trenton has done,” school attorney Michael Inzelbuch said to parents during an early morning Board of Education meeting on July 1.

  Lakewood Public School District was slated to receive an additional $30 million from the state but this was cut once the legislature drafted its budget. Officials refused to approve the $171 million budget without knowing where that $30 million would come from, according to board attorney Michael Inzelbuch.

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  It was announced later on the day of the closure that the schools would reopen on Tuesday, July 2. The New Jersey Department of Education recommended Lakewood be given a $36 million loan, to be repaid over a decade beginning the 2020-2021 school year should it be approved.

  According to earlier reports, it is not clear by the state loan is for $36 million and not $30 million.