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Let’s start with the good news.
District Attorney Michael Inzelbuch has stopped siphoning more than $1 million dollars of taxpayer money into his bank account! According to Joe Strupp at the Asbury Park Press, Inzelbuch’s income dropped to only $26,000 a month.
During the first eight months of 2021, Inzelbuch received $731,198 in district payments, or an average of $91,400 each month. But in the final four months of the year Inzelbuch received $261,235, or an average of $65,309 each month. That is a 28.5% drop from the prior period. For the first six months of the 2021-2022 school year, which is billed from July to June, he received a monthly average of $71,938.
If that trend continues, Inzelbuch would make $863,250 for the 2021-2022 school year, below the $1 million-plus he took home during each of the two previous school years. Taxpayers rejoice!
Oddly, Inzelbuch’s contract with Lakewood Board of Education caps his monthly pay-out at $50,000, which theoretically would limit his annual draw to $600,000. Since his re-hirement in 2017 (he was board attorney for five years and then left, spending his time suing the district), he has taken home $625,109 during the 2017-2018 school year, $721,644 in 2018-2019, and more than $1 million each in 2019-2020 and 2020-2021. (The State Attorney General and Education Law Center have questioned the contract’s legality.)
It’s unclear if these numbers reflect his benefits package. Most likely it doesn’t. By, hey, at least Inzelbuch and his family live in some pretty nice digs: According to JLeaks, his home is a “palatial estate,” measured at “9,000 square feet, 16 bedrooms, 12 baths, 3 car garage and what appears to be an Olympic sized in ground pool. Oh, and landscaping galore including the number of the street address cut out of bushes.”
Now for the bad news: Lakewood continues to single-handedly support the School For Students with Hidden Intelligence (SCHI), a private special education school that only accepts ultra-Orthodox students. Tuition is $123,246.90 per year.
Last June we calculated the total cost of tuition to SCHI. For the 227 Lakewood students who enroll, the total was $32,190,941, or 15% of the district’s annual operating budget. At last month’s board meeting, the district accepted bids for transportation to SCHI and the Center School, another private special education school in town that accepts only ultra-Orthodox students. According to the agenda, busing to SCHI and the Center School (a relative bargain with tuition only $77,368.20 per year), will cost taxpayers $20,296,000. This doesn’t include “parent agreements” where the Board pays parents about $16,869.60 per year to transport their children privately. This agenda lists parent contracts—just to SCHI–at $522,000.
Here’s another way of looking at it: the busing back and forth from SCHI and Center School is almost as much as Lakewood annual state aid package of $24 million.
One other relevant agenda item: according to an audit, apparently Lakewood underpaid SCHI in 2020. Therefore Lakewood and state taxpayers will be sending off a check to SCHI for an additonal $382,128.82.
Maybe we should just stick to good news.