Orthodox Town of Lakewood Grabs Bigger Computer Subsidy Than Poorest Cities

How Does Jersey Shore Town of 93,000 Outstrip Newark?

gates foundation

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Published April 22, 2013, issue of April 26, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 4)

Yet Lakewood’s relative E-Rate success over the past three years has been on a scale unprecedented statewide. Schools and libraries in Lakewood received more in subsidy commitments than any New Jersey city but Newark in 2009, 2010 and 2012. In 2011 the town outstripped even Newark in E-Rate commitments. The $15 million committed to Lakewood schools cumulatively since 2010 is more than twice the amount committed to Trenton during that period and nearly three times the amount committed to Jersey City.

All this was for a township that clocked in at 92,000 people in the 2010 U.S. Census. That’s a third of the size of Newark and Jersey City, which both have populations of roughly a quarter-million people. Lakewood is slightly more populous than Trenton.

Schools receive E-Rate funding commitments based on their requests for particular items and costs that they submit to USAC. The kinds of services they are eligible to have subsidized and the percentage of the cost that USAC will cover are contingent on the income of their students. This, in turn, is measured by the proportion of students who are eligible for free or subsidized lunches through the National School Lunch Program, a federal meal subsidy. That means that cities with larger populations of poor children should receive more in E-Rate funding. Yet Lakewood has only half as many children living in poverty as Newark does, according to U.S. Census data.

Jersey City, where schools and libraries have received $5 million in E-Rate commitments since 2010, has roughly the same number of children living in poverty as Lakewood, which has received three times as much in E-Rate commitments over the same three-year period.

The disproportionately high amount of money going to Lakewood schools in recent years doesn’t correspond to similarly high levels of Internet access. Schools receiving E-Rate subsidies are not required to use those funds only to bring Internet into classrooms. They can pay for telephone service, administrative servers, certain kinds of wiring and telephone hardware, and even mobile phones and e-mail addresses. Yet for schools receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in E-Rate funding, Lakewood’s Orthodox yeshivas report startlingly few Internet-capable devices on campus.

Besides the Lakewood public school district, only eight of the 66 Lakewood schools that received E-Rate subsidies in 2011 report having more than 10 computers or other Internet-capable devices.

While schools in Jersey City report three students for every Internet-capable device, schools in Lakewood reported 16 students for every such device in 2011. Statewide, schools applying to E-Rate from New Jersey reported 2.4 students per Internet-capable device.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.