May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Teach NJ Sees Fruits of Transportation-Funding Efforts

Six thousand dollars. That’s how much Yehuda Brum saved this year when new school bus routes were added to include his children—mitigating his need to hire a private bus.

This is also now the story for numerous parents across New Jersey, who, thanks to increased state funding for school transportation, have been saved from either hiring private transportation or handling the time-consuming, and often stressful, daily school commute on their own.

“This means that everyone will be able to be transported to and from school in the morning and the afternoon, safely, and reliably,” said Debbie Pahuskin, executive assistant to the head of school, Hillel Yeshiva in Ocean Township, which was able to increase the size of their buses thanks to the increased funding. “This helps the working parents who otherwise would have to scramble to get their children to and from school. And if they were getting aid in lieu of transportation, that barely covers a third of the cost of private transportation. This makes a world of difference educating our students each day.”

This year’s record $7 million increase from last year’s transportation budget benefits 55% of enrolled nonpublic school students—representing over 87,500 students. This budget increase comes at the behest of leadership in Trenton, in tandem with the advocacy and activism of community members across the state and Teach NJ—a grassroots organization that advocates for equitable government funding for nonpublic schools.

In Livingston, the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy (JKHA) had over 250 students who were at risk of losing transportation prior to this 14% jump in funding.

JKHA Executive Director Daniel Israeli explained, “Last year, we came precariously close to not having transportation. If we don’t have those buses, it’s catastrophic. We wouldn’t have been able to get our kids to school. We don’t take this stuff for granted.”

In another part of New Jersey, the bus routes for 91 students from Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey (RYNJ) were saved, representing about $180,000 savings for families, who now no longer need to rely on private transportation.

“We are so grateful to our partners, decision makers in Trenton and Teach NJ, for helping us ensure that we had the funds, but also that the towns understood what busing means for our students,” said Rabbi Efrayim Clair, executive director, RYNJ. “Getting our children to and from school in a safe and efficient way can make all the difference to a day of learning and the stress at home.”

With the school year fast approaching, parents like Brum are grateful for the support provided to them, “Transportation provided by the borough is a lifesaver.”

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