By Jesse Lunin-Pack
The Lawrence Union Free School District has long prided itself on its academic excellence and its diversity. While that diversity is evident in the public school population, and in the mixture of families who choose to utilize the public schools and those who do not, it is not evident on the school board itself. The makeup of the board is such that there is virtually no genuine public school family representation. I am the only candidate for a seat on the board who currently has children enrolled in the public schools. This is not good for the board, and not good for our community.
I have two young sons currently enrolled in the Lawrence Public Schools, but that is not my only qualification to run for a seat on the board. I earned a BA in history from Tufts University, followed by an MBA from The Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University. My financial background will serve the District 15 well as we wrestle with budget questions in the future. I have served in the past as a trustee of the Park Slope Jewish Center, and currently serve on the Youth and Education Committee of the Hewlett–East Rockaway Jewish Centre. I also currently serve as medical lieutenant of Atlantic Beach Rescue, where I was active in the community’s response to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.
While I will be a passionate advocate of the interests of public school children and families on the board, I value the needs and concerns of private school children and families as well. I am the product of a private school education, and I know the sacrifices my parents made to afford me that education. The public school and private school families should not be at odds—as a community, we share common interests and goals for our school district. Reasonable and low taxes; better services; access to recreational facilities; and successful, cost-effective school programs that engage young people and keep them participating in school and out of trouble make District 15 a better place for us all to live.
But allowing our public schools to underperform hurts the entire community in numerous ways. Kids need structure, support, and supervision or else they have more opportunities for trouble. We don’t want families with means to leave our district, lowering property values and diminishing the lifeblood of a diverse community.
The Lawrence School District has changed significantly in the recent past. The board has changed with it. However, it is time to remember the public school families. As a public school parent, I want to be part of a board that respects the entire community for our common good.
I am committed to helping District 15 enjoy all the benefits of its wonderful history, enviable geographic location, and diversity. I am running in the May 21 election to be a school board trustee because I want to keep the Lawrence School District inviting and desirable for everyone. Working together, we can make this a great place for all our children. v