Lakewood BOE Unveils $264.6 Million Budget, Requests Record-Setting $93 Million Loan

For the 2023-24 school year, the Township Board of Education has proposed a budget of $264.6 million, which includes a reduction in taxes and a request for a state aid loan of $93 million. According to Kevin Campbell, the district’s assistant business administrator, the budget does not involve any job cuts and includes funds for vacant positions and new instructional and support positions.

The budget also designates $550,000 for textbook purchases, while preschool aid has increased by $1.4 million from the previous year.

The budget was first reported on by the Asbury Park Press.

In contrast to other nearby districts, such as Jackson, Toms River, and Brick, Lakewood is expected to receive a 7.7% increase ($1.9 million) in state funding for its school district.

Despite this increase, Lakewood will request another loan from the state. This year, the loan being requested from state coffers is a staggering $93 million – the most ever. The Lakewood School District already has more than $125 million in loans from the state.

District officials warn that if they don’t receive the $93 million they are requesting by October, the district will be unable to pay its bills, the APP reports.

The Lakewood School District’s budget woes are primarily due to Lakewood’s unconventional demographics, with the district forced to shell out some $80 million busing and special education funding to private school students, whereas the state funding formula only accounts for public school students.

An appellate court recently ordered the state’s education commissioner to take a look at the funding formula after having determined that it was unfair to Lakewood.

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