7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday at Primary School at #2 School in Inwood, Lawrence Elementary/Middle School at Broadway Campus, Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst and Atlantic Beach Village Hall.
The district proposes a $99,561,935 budget for 2016-17, a 1.01 percent increase from the current $98,563,486. The tax levy would rise by 0.03 percent, from $83,748,426 to $83,770,595.
This increase is within the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.
The district did not provide the amount of school taxes on the average single-family home in the district.
The district also did not provide the level of step and base increases in teacher salaries under the proposed budget. Officials said no programs were slated to be cut.
A proposition asks voters to approve transferring up to $1.8 million in the district’s unreserved funds to its capital-reserve fund for building-improvement projects during the remainder of the 2015-16 school year. Another proposition asks voters to transfer up to $3.3 million in unreserved funds to the capital-reserve fund for projects during 2016-17. The district did not say whether this would affect taxes.
- District website:
There are three open positions in the by-seat election. Incumbent David Sussman is being challenged for his seat by Asher Matathias, while incumbents Michael Hatten and Tova Plaut are running unopposed. Terms are three years.
BACKGROUND: Matathias, 72, is an assistant professor of political science at St. John’s University who spent more than 30 years as a New York City public school teacher. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from LIU and a master’s degree in political science from the New School for Social Research in Manhattan. He has lived in the district for 40 years and since 1983 has been president of Long Island Lodge B’nai B’rith. His three children attended district schools. This is his third consecutive year running for the school board.
ISSUES: Matathias, a longtime critic of sitting school-board members, said the board fosters a culture of “bullying” against its critics as it hires “decidedly unqualified” school administrators. “I want to be on the board to educate and inform the public,” he said. Matathias said he would push the board to engage in more meaningful debates and public forums on key issues, which he said are missing now. The budget, he said, is similarly drafted and proposed with no public input. “I am usually the only public member at their very infrequent public meetings,” said Matathias, who accused the board of “intentionally avoiding public scrutiny of their activities.”
BACKGROUND: Sussman, 66, has been on the school board since 1995, having served multiple years as school board president. He is a urologist with a practice in Brooklyn, and has lived in the district for 53 years. The onetime state Assembly candidate has four children, all of whom attended district schools. Sussman also is on the board of directors at NuHealth, which runs the Nassau University Medical Center.
ISSUES: Sussman said the district has been successful in keeping taxes level while embarking on various building improvement projects, and it has hired numerous bilingual teachers in recent years to better serve a growing Hispanic student population. He touted the district’s high graduation rate for students who begin at pre-K, but said “we need to increase resources” for children who come to the district in later years and struggle to assimilate. “We have to make sure everyone has a seat at the table,” Sussman said. He defended the board from critics who claim a lack of openness by saying officials frequently bring proposals to parent-teacher associations and town hall meetings before trustees vote on them. “This is about the most transparent board I’ve ever seen,” Sussman said.