For the third consecutive year the proposed Lawrence School District budget is $102.490 million. For the fourth straight year the tax levy – the amount of money the district raises through property taxes – is $85.954 million and the tax-cap levy is flat. Voting on the budget, trustees and propositions is May 17.
Previously, Jeremy Feder, the school district’s assistant superintendent of business and operations, said that though there are rising costs there are also decreases in some costs which gives the district flexibility when balancing the budget. State aid was also boosted by 1.4 percent for a total of $13.011 million.
Feder said that along with financially supporting the contracted portions of the budget such as teachers, administrators and other staff, the fiscal plan includes money for renovations of classrooms, the athletic wing and library, installation of air conditioning, upgrades to the heating and ventilation system and other site improvements.
Running for re-election unopposed this year are Trustees Michael Hatten, Tova Plaut and Dr. David Sussman. All terms are three years
Hatten, 77, a Cedarhurst resident running for his fourth consecutive term, points to the district renovating and upgrading the school buildings as one of the board’s top accomplishments in the past three years.
Fellow Cedarhurst resident Plaut, 52, is running for her fourth straight term as well. She highlighted the board’s success in managing the budget, improving the buildings and playing fields without raising taxes or cutting programs and the food pandemic food program that fed more than 14,000 children weekly.
A longtime trustee, Sussman, a Lawrence resident, grew up in the district and is seeking his 11th term. He said his guiding principles are for the board to care for every student in the district and help ensure the district’s educational level. He also spotlighted the building upgrades, the Covid food program and the administration’s dedication.
Also on the ballot are propositions asking voters to approve the creation of a capital reserve fund not to exceed $5 million for financing the renovations at the high school, middle school and districtwide technology upgrades, and one concerning the approval to buy a piece of property at 21 Henry Street in Inwood for $825,000 to expand the playing area and parking lot at the Early Childhood Center at the Number Four School.
At the high school, the money targets classroom improvements, athletic wing and library renovations, and upgrades with heating, ventilation and air conditioning and site upgrades. At the middle school, the money is for renovations to the cafeteria, classroom, gymnasium, the library, HVAC and site improvements.
The Peninsula Public Library budget is $3,172 million, just a bit more than $60,000 increase from the current fiscal plan. Incumbent Trustee Sarah Yastrab, 51, is running unchallenged for another five-year term.