There is a school board vote next week out here on this part of Long Island, in the Lawrence district, and it’s pretty quiet. There are no screaming headlines or admonishments about doom and gloom if another Orthodox Jewish school-board candidate wins an election. Such elections have happened already, and quite often at that, and everything is going very well, thank you.
With significant input from pioneering school board member and former board president Dr. Asher Mansdorf, things began to change for the better here. It was with his leadership and vision that the school board did the once unpopular thing and held the line on spiraling-out-of-control education costs. It would be years before other school districts on Long Island, and indeed around the country, took a closer look and realized that residents could not bear constant tax increases and that a prudent fiscal approach to education expenses would have to be implemented.
On Tuesday, May 20, Dr. Asher Mansdorf and Murray Forman, also an incumbent and a former school board president, are up for reelection to that board. This time around, not unlike last year or anytime in the recent past, the candidates are basically unopposed. Dr. Mansdorf has some token opposition from a fringe protest candidate with minimal support.
Still, however, it’s vital and important to take a few minutes next Tuesday, if you reside in the rather large District 15, to go out and cast your vote in support of Dr. Mansdorf and Mr. Forman. Also on the ballot is the annual school budget, which calls for a less than 1 percent increase, plus the local library budget and the election for library board seats. As reported here last week, there is speculation that Dr. Mansdorf will seek the seat in the New York State Assembly that is being vacated with the retirement of veteran Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg. If nothing else, his extensive experience on the board and constant interfacing with parents and students has prepared him for political advancement. However, nothing is yet certain on that count.
For our community, it is a matter of hakaras ha’tov, an expression of gratitude, for all the effort and time that both Mansdorf and Forman have devoted and will devote in the future to making this school district, which features about 5,000 students who attend local yeshivas, the envy of other districts around the state.
So much has been righted in a fair and balanced fashion when contrasted with the one-sidedness that once existed in the Lawrence district as recently as a decade ago. Today the district is financially sound. Difficult but important decisions to sell underused buildings were made, with the school properties now centralized and being used more efficiently. The accusations that Orthodox board members would side in an imbalanced way with yeshiva students at the expense of public school students have been proved wrong. Both Forman and Mansdorf have led the way with hard but good decisions that have made a significant difference for all the students and taxpayers in the district. Things are going well and there is not much to complain about. But that does not make it any less important to go out and vote for Asher Mansdorf and Murray Forman on Tuesday, May 20. Your input through your vote is imperative.
Following the success that residents have had in reducing costs in District 15, candidate Jacob Shafran is running for election in District 14. He promises to push hard for fiscal accountability and less taxation, instead of the large increases that the current school board seems to implement year after year. If you are looking for a strong and vibrant school district with fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency, Shafran represents a good choice in the right direction, and your vote may make the difference in electing him. v
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