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Tova Plaut wins Lawrence school board race

Tova Plaut of Cedarhurst at the site of

Tova Plaut of Cedarhurst at the site of a new Hebrew Academy she is helping to set up in Hewlett. (Aug. 16, 2005) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

The Lawrence Board of Education Thursday night was to accept results of a contested school board election, with Tova Plaut winning the seat over Jesse Lunin-Pack after a recount.

The district did not give vote totals Thursday.

Lunin-Pack, 40, who had been declared the winner in the May 21 vote, conceded the race Thursday. In a statement, he said re-examination of the voter tally clearly showed that Plaut won.

"For whatever reason, the third digit of the number of votes for Ms. Plaut from two machines was dropped," said Lunin-Pack, a financial adviser who has two children attending district schools. He said he called Plaut on Wednesday to concede.

Superintendent Gary Schall said in an email the board scheduled a meeting Thursday night to accept the results. Officials had confirmed Tuesday that the recount was under way.

On May 21, district officials declared Lunin-Pack the winner, saying he had 1,410 votes, Plaut had 1,104 and another candidate, Dov Herman, had 840.

But later, Lunin-Pack said a recount showed Plaut pulling ahead by 37 votes.

Plaut, 43, is director of a nonsectarian preschool and day care center in Suffolk County that she has declined to name, citing privacy of the children who attend the school. She has five children who either attend or graduated from private schools.

She could not be reached Thursday.

Lunin-Pack said he has asked the board to look into what went wrong with the vote count.

"While I understand what the mistake was, I do not understand how it was allowed to happen," he said. "The Lawrence community must have the utmost confidence in the integrity of elections."

The district's other contested seat was won by Michael Hatten, 68, who defeated incumbent Nahum Marcus. Incumbent David Sussman was unopposed. Terms are three years.

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