Herald Endorsement

Lawrence school budget deserves approval


With another school year on the horizon, there are more tough choices for Lawrence School District administrators.

Looking to once again make up a budget deficit of $3.2 million, the district is laying off up to 19 members of the faculty, secretarial staff and facilities workers.

The $93 million proposed budget includes a 3 percent tax levy increase, which is the state’s limit for the district. The tax levy — the amount needed to be raised by tax dollars — is just over $83 million.

The district is expected to receive $7.5 million in state aid (more than $1 million than in the current budget), which will be used to offset mandated and contractual increases. The district is not cutting academic programs such as Advanced Placement classes, high school electives and extracurricular activities and clubs.

Losing experienced staff, social workers and psychologists isn’t a budgetary consequence administrators take lightly. And should finances allow, school board trustees have said they will look to restore positions as needed.

The hard choices made by Lawrence administrators will help the district put resources where they are most needed: in the classroom. We support the proposed budget and urge readers to vote “yes” on Tuesday.

Lunin-Pack and Marcus for trustee

Three community-minded people are running for Dr. Solomon Blisko’s seat on the Lawrence Board of Education: Jesse Lunin-Pack, Tova Plaut and Dov Herman. Blisko is not running for re-election.

All three have demonstrated an ability and a willingness to be involved in and help their communities. Lunin-Pack’s financial expertise would be an asset. Plaut’s experience as an educator would benefit the district, and Herman’s knowledge of the building industry would add to the board’s skill set.

We think the district would be well served by any of the three, but we give the edge to Lunin-Pack. He has exhibited in-depth knowledge of district issues, and his concern is long-term, as he has two young children in Lawrence schools.

Incumbent Nahum Marcus is being challenged by past board member Michael Hatten. Marcus has been an effective advocate for children with special needs and their parents. Hatten, the owner of a vocational school, is also a strong candidate. However, we think Marcus’s experience and ability to be a distinct voice on the board sets him apart, and we endorse him.

Longtime Trustee David Sussman is running unopposed for his seventh three-year term. We look for him to continue to help guide the district through difficult choices.

Approve Peninsula Library budget

Keeping costs down while maintaining services is on the minds of those who run the Peninsula Public Library.

Library Director Karen Porcella said that being prudent in lean economic times and ensuring that patrons have access to the materials and programs they want are her main goals.

PPL’s proposed budget is $3.06 million, which is only $61,190 larger than its current spending plan. That’s lean, considering that state-mandated costs jumped $63,685. Implemented cost-saving measures such as energy-efficient lights are paying dividends, allowing the library to boost the budget for materials by $10,245.

That practical financial management and effective decision-making are the reasons we endorse the budget, and urge voters to do the same on Tuesday.

Cedarhurst resident Samuel Francis is running unopposed for the five-year term of incumbent library Trustee Joel Shiff, who died on April 8.