This editorial was written and submitted to Patch by Uri Kaufman, a member of the Lawrence School Board.
If you live in District 15, you probably know that on Wednesday we’ll be holding a referendum to determine whether to approve the proposed sale of the Number Six School to Simone Development.
I, for one, will be voting “NO.”
The mega-medical center Simone wishes to build will bring hundreds of cars to our streets, every working hour of every day. And, it will pave over five acres of ball fields. The first time I heard their proposal I started whistling that old song “They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot.”
There were other bidders who offered to preserve the ball fields. And while Simone offered a little more money, the difference only amounts to a one-time payment of $150, on average, for each taxpaying family.
The annual taxes Simone would pay — when viewed in the context of Nassau County’s $2.8 billion budget, Hempstead’s $465 million budget, Lawrence Public School’s $93 million budget, the libraries, the sanitation district and everything else — would amount to a savings per taxpaying family of just $35, if that.
When I was elected to the school board, in 2006, the very first thing I was told by our president, Asher Mansdorf, was that we weren’t going to fight for the yeshiva kids, and we weren’t going to fight for the public school kids. This was going to be the board that fought for all the kids. By voting “NO,” we’ll be carrying on that tradition. All the kids use the ball fields. We all drive on our streets. At the end of the day, we all moved to Nassau County seeking the same quality of life. I can’t imagine compromising that for just $35 a year.
And the district has the resources to continue offering quality education. Under Asher’s leadership, and our past president Murray Forman, we passed a universal pre-K program that is the only one of its kind in Nassau County (which, if you didn’t know, has 55 other school districts). We invested $17 million into upgrading our schools, turning them into state of the art facilities. The top-of-the-line turf football field has helped Lawrence win the Long Island Football Championship twice and the Nassau County Championship an unheard of five times, in the seven seasons I’ve served on the board.
When I was elected in 2006 our budget was $93 million. Today, our budget is still $93 million. We cut an awful lot of waste. We never cut a single club, a single class or a single program. In Lawrence Public Schools, the tradition of excellence lives on.
It is in that tradition that I turn to you now and ask that you vote “NO” on Wednesday. Not because it’s good for this community or that. But because it’s the right thing to do for everyone.