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Saturday, November 04, 2006

NYT on Lawrence, NY

The NY Times features Lawrence, one of the villages that make up the Five Towns of Long Island, in today's Real Estate section. The article makes sure to mention the amenities that the village has to offer - especially to Orthodox Jews:
With its elegant homes, golf, tennis and yachting facilities, vast wetlands along Reynolds Channel, quick access over the Atlantic Beach Bridge to ocean beaches and easy commute to Manhattan, Lawrence has long been a beacon to those seeking the best of suburban living.

It has also been a Jewish bastion. The newest influx is far more traditional in dress and observance than two generations ago.

Synagogues are plentiful, and so, increasingly, are shtiebels — private homes where followers of a particular rabbi gather to pray.

“Communities undergo change, and Lawrence is no different,” said Dr. Jack Levenbrun, the village’s mayor. A family-oriented neighborhood with 1,600 homes and 600 apartments, Lawrence draws both newlyweds and empty-nesters, who buy so that their adult children can visit.
The article also mentions

“For someone who is observant,” Dr. Levenbrun, “all the amenities are there,” including mikvahs, or ritual baths, and an eruv, a boundary built under rabbinic supervision, inside which Orthodox Jews are allowed to push strollers or carry essential items on the Sabbath.

Lawrence’s shopping district, a stretch of Central Avenue between Rockaway Turnpike and Washington Avenue, is dominated by kosher markets and restaurants, along with a barber shop, furniture store and bath products store that are closed on Saturdays and open on Sundays.
The article mentions the local school board tensions:
The public school population today, Dr. Karant said, is 20 percent African-American, 30 percent Hispanic, 7 percent Asian and 43 percent white, while the nonpublic student body is almost exclusively white.

These changes, along with a decline in test scores at public schools, have many longtime non-Orthodox residents worried. An additional source of concern for them: In July, Orthodox candidates won four seats on the seven-member school board, even though most Orthodox children do not attend public schools.

“It’s not a public school board,” said Asher Mansdorf, the board president. “By law, it’s a school board that controls all educational monies in the area.” Dr. Mansdorf, whose children attended yeshivas, says the board has both the religious and the public schools’ interests at heart. By law, private school students receive busing, textbooks, special education services and nurses from public school funds. Fields and buildings, if available, may be used by private school students after hours.

Dr. Mansdorf said his board was focused on “improving outcomes” for public school students and making capital improvements to the school buildings. At Lawrence High School, for instance, the auditorium’s ceiling, unstable from moisture, is being repaired. And an outside consultant will be brought in by January to help improve public school scores.

“Nothing would please me more than to have two incredible school systems, public and private,” Dr. Mansdorf said.

But some parents are apprehensive about having private school parents decide what is best for public school students. Lisa Gray, a 1980 Lawrence High School graduate who now heads its PTA, said there had been a “huge flight” from the district. “There are a lot of people that are concerned about the education of the children,” said Ms. Gray, whose two children attend Lawrence schools. “So they are moving out of the district.”

Ms. Gray, who has lived in the area her whole life, has thought about becoming one of them.
I did learn something from the article that I didn't know about the district:
What We Like

Yeshivas and public schools in District 15 are beginning to work together. Students from the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach branch known as the Davis Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School for Boys in Woodmere are mentoring elementary students in the English-as-a-second-language program at the public No. 6 School. And the Peninsula Public Library is working with local yeshivas, some of which lack large libraries, to train students on online data bases.

I would say that those examples of cooperation between the public and private school segments of the population to be a step in the right direction.

All in all, a fairly accurate piece.

And at least they didn't mention the Gourmet Glatt affair.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All in all, a fairly accurate piece.

Only because it was a Real Estate article. I am sure that the local brokers (see Pugtach reference) were working for a long time to get such a piece in the NYT.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And at least they didn't mention the Gourmet Glatt affair


Agreed because it was a real estate article which usually are puff pieces with cooperation of local brokers. Gourmet Glatt issue if anyone on Times would write about it -would be a stringer like Ari Goldman.

9:08 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


Agreed because it was a real estate article which usually are puff pieces with cooperation of local brokers. Gourmet Glatt issue if anyone on Times would write about it -would be a stringer like Ari Goldman.


I didn't really expect them to mention l'affaire Gourmet Glatt - I was just kidding.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing this article missed was some little issues going on;
1. Many children are sitting three to a seat on their school bus. This is a dangerous situation, and perhaps instead of door to door busing, extra buses being added would be more appropriate.
2. Meadowmere children still walk on Rockaway tpke to High School, even though the board promised to get them a bus.
3. Special Education is still a nightmare for ANY parent!! Public school numbers are going up due to the enrollment of religous children. Some parents report refusal of testing by the elementry school in the public schools. Religous children are being over reffered with many parents being riled up, only to get angry when there children don't qualify.
4. Not having meetings with parents to discuss overcrowding in the public schools, when the board new in August this was a problem. The union was threatened that if another teacher was hired, the board would fire a reading specialist.
5. One math specialist for all elementry schools.
6. Teachers being blamed for high cost per pupil, when it only costs, 14,870.00 to actually educate the child, and 8500.00 going to transportation.
7.Cap size for 4th grade is 25 kids. This is way too many, considering half of this district can't walk to a bus stop, I think it isn't too much to ask to lesson the classes.
8. Last but no least, we need to demand more from this board, I am tired of reading how they fixed a leaking roof, when, they are supposed to do this, the schools are not empty, unless of course you count the ot/pt treatment room and the speech therapy room as an empty class. Start speaking the truth, because then, and only then will we be able to move ahead.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the first few lines of your post, I thought it might have an honest and reasonable message in there.

But who do you think you're kidding with your per student expenditure numbers? Your attitude is the reason that there's no trust or cooperation in the district. Blaming the high expenditures on the private school kids is not only disingenuous, but it's really stupid.

On what planet does it cost $8500 to bus a kid to school? That's more than my child's overpriced private school tuition! In reality, the District spends between $1000 and $1500 to bus each child. In fact, when the bus company contracts directly with parents for busing (e.g., for children in private pre-schools), the bus company only charges $2200 - and you can rest assured they're not losing any money on that.

If you really cared about the education in this district, you'd try to find out why the District really is spending over $25k per student and where that money really is going, instead of arrogantly blaiming on the private school children, who, in the aggregate benefit from no more than 8%-10% of the District's budget.

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

over $25k per student and where that money really is going,

That is what I am trying to say. The board showed figures and they were total spent on education 14,97.00, administration and other costs, 500, balance was left to busing. I do care about education, and want all to excel, but when parents recommended homework center be on Sunday for all to use, they balked, after school center for ALL they balked, the agenda of this board is for a select few, and we all need to fight.

4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the board said that the balance was spent on busing, it was a gross mischaracterization. But I was at the meeting and I didn't hear that. As the state reported, the $14k number is the amount spent directly on instructional expenditures per student (almost double the state average). The balance may include busing, but is attributable mostly to administrative expenses, facilities maintenance, etc.

These presentations are nothing more than a coverup of everything that's wrong with the district - Just like the superintendent wanted parents to believe that the per student cost of administration is only $74, when it's impossible for it to be less than 2 or 3 times that amount.

Unfortunately, the school's higher administration and its insistence on maintaining the status quo across the board is the biggest impediment to progress and academic excellence in the district.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Special Education is still a nightmare for ANY parent!!"

Totally untrue. The new Pupil Personnel staff are great

Public school numbers are going up due to the enrollment of religous children.

At what level??

Some parents report refusal of testing by the elementry school in the public schools.

You are still entitled to a screening if a referreal (even verbal is made by their school) Just be polite and presistant.

Religous children are being over reffered with many parents being riled up, only to get angry when there children don't qualify.

If the child deserves service they will get it.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who put you in charge of dispensing services?

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who put you in charge of dispensing services?"

Its the law.

In any event, I am a yeshiva parent and my kid gets services. So your comment is both inappropirate and taken as an insult.

9:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Who put you in charge of dispensing services?"

Its the law.

In any event, I am a yeshiva parent and my kid gets services. So your comment is both inappropirate and taken as an insult.


Whether or not you are a yeshiva parent and whether or not your kid gets services is completely irrelevant to the ostensibly authoritative assertion above that "If the child deserves service they will get it" which implies that the system is not in the least bit flawed.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The system is flawed only to the extent that those who don't qualify for services get riled up when they are denied. There are many fine attorneys (one named Fine) who can advise on the qualfications. I looked into the qulafications before I started the process so that I would not "be riled up"

I any event. This thread was about the NYT article so lets stick to that topic.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at all the comments, this is what happened in this district - private against public, jew against jew... sad......
The reality is that if Orthodox can not respect others, there will never be peace regardless where you go. Why anywhere Orthodox goes the public school system is trashed?

When will you understand the per pupil expenditure = total budget devided by total PUBLIC school students (only public school enrollments). Is it clear enough that our per pupil expenditure includes YOU PRIVATE SCHOOL BUSING TO MANY MANY DIFFERENT SCHOOLS AND ETC.
When will you understand that although our score is low compare with Yeshivas, but public schools have to educate EVEYONE, we can not pick and choose which every Yeshiva does.
Don't you understand the more you do to general public the more you will get back from general public. Oh, I forgot you Orthodox do not care about general public, you don't want your children to play with anyone who is not one of you. Too bad for you, remember, general public will be always out number you people.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 9:06

You had much postitive to say but you blew it with the "you people", line.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:06:

YOU ARE THE PROBLEM

The first step toward arriving at a balance in the distribution of services, that everyone will accept and support, is coming to terms with the flaws in the way the system is run now. Blaming the $25k per student expenditure on yeshiva kids who don't get more than $1500 on average is really unfair and doesn't do any justice to the intelligent dialogue that is necessary for greater understanding and agreement. The total cost of busing in the district is not more than $10 million and the cost attributable to private school kids is not more than 2/3 of that. You can crunch the numbers any way you'd like and you'll still find that almost all of the $25k is attributable to public school expenditures. In fact, if you multiply $25k by the number of children in public school (3300), you'll find that the $10 million spent on private school kids isn't even included in that $25k number. (3300 x $25k = $79.2 million, which is about $11 million less than the district's budget, because the private school costs aren't included) So the per student expenditure is higher than any other district even without including the money spend on private school kids.

The system is bleeding, and it's clearly not because of money being spent on kids in private school.

11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of us who have seen the figures, and have attended the board meetings, only 14,750.00, per pupil on education. Busing is far more than 1500.00 per pupil. If you read the audit, that the state did, the excessive busing, and the increase in special education, (religous children in the public schools), this is where the cost is. The board said that 25,000 is not a true number, and that includes the monies spent toward private school busing. Either way it doesn't matter, the classes are overcrowded, 25, kids in a fourth grade class is no bargain. The technology is old and outdated, the schools falling down, and yet you cry? I pay a lot in taxes too, and I get very little as well. Every article written today about education states smaller class size in k-3 15-19 kids produces, and resources, this board does not feel this is necessary. The agenda is very clear if you read the NY Times, the board would love to have two strong schools systems, private and public. The only problem is the government doesn't allow that. Our % of children classified is 18%. The new laws should not have us over 9%. So all the aides given to the yeshivas, that violate FAPE, will probably not be given. No matter what happens, no matter how many people move, the budget will always go up, and the yeshivas and this community will not be allowed to use it. We ALL knew when we moved in taxes would go up and would be high, so why is it such a shock to this community that this is happening. Public funds are not allotted for private schools, especially religous ones. Is this a news flash? Private school board or not, you can't touch the money. Closing a school or not, will still not save you money. Spitzer even said in a speech, no vouchers, public monies is for public schools. He offers a tax credit in the future. What can I tell you. This is America, and the freedom that alots you where you send your kids, protects the public schools.

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of us who have seen the figures, and have attended the board meetings, only 14,750.00, per pupil on education. Busing is far more than 1500.00 per pupil. If you read the audit, that the state did, the excessive busing, and the increase in special education, (religous children in the public schools), this is where the cost is. The board said that 25,000 is not a true number, and that includes the monies spent toward private school busing

Here we go again. More denial of the ridiculously high expenditures is not going to resolve the problem. And blaming it on the Orthodox will only continue to incite resentment of the Orthodox for no good reason.

If you're convinced that 40% of the district's funds are spent on private school kids, you're either incredibly naive or your only interests are to prolong these abuses and blame them on the Orthodox.

Once again, the $14k number is the average amount spent on teaching/instruction alone. This is an official and documented number that is filed with the state and cannot be fudged. I've attended the meetings and called the state for clarification, and they've confirmed what these numbers mean and how they compare to other districts. There is a huge fiscal problem in this district, and spinning the numbers or blaming them on the Orthodox is only a step in the wrong direction.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a huge fiscal problem in this district,

I spoke to the state as well, and the money is not going to the public school children either, and the teaching/instruction costs are lower than most schools. Busing costs, 89.00 per child in district and 3,011.00 to non public children, this includes catholic,prep,yesh. We received 1,000.000 in an excel grant for building improvement which is just sitting there and can not be used until community approval. The board wanted to bring in The former superintendent (the one who was involved in excessive spending) as the consultant, and spanish speaking teachers, which is a waste. The only thing that brings scores up, is smaller class size k-3. This is not made up, NY state currently gives grants to limit class size to 17-20 per class. All research (put in google) shows in k-3 classes that have 15-17 children had scores 45% higher. New technology in each classroom is as important. We have 2 computers per class older than some of the children we teach. No new software has been purchased, and bottem line I pay 12,000 a year in taxes. I know we all do, it is my choice for my children to go to public school, as they need services, it is not my choice for my taxes to go to public transportation, mass transit, I don't use it, but I pay it. I am not blaming the orthodox for the schools collapse. I just feel bad for the end result, as children move out, more minorities in, scores will continue to drop, due to lack of proper education, The state will want to know why, just tell them it is the fault of the districts spending, which might I remind you, three board members help create.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU'VE GOTTA BE KIDDING!

$89 to bus a public school child and $3k to bus a yeshiva child? This dialogue has just sunk to a new low?

DO YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT?
DOES IT EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE?

4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get it, it's all the extra gas to haul those hebrew books

:-)

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure - Everyone knows it's more expensive to haul jewish kids

... because they're only willing to ride on coach buses

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Relax, this is not a jewish/yeshiva thing, stop taking it as antisemetic most of this public school district is refor/conservative. This is just an example of what we are told, look at the busing budget to bus non public and public on the state web site grant area. It shows what the board put in the state hands. It also shows this board, cut back on special education. Now before we yell about services, the reason why public school special education services are on the rise is not due to minorities, but to religous children enrolling in the public schools. FYI the district currently has a level of 18% for students classified. We are way over the rest of New York. At a recent meeting it was said that children can get services without being classified. So it looks like we are all going to get screwed. The point of all this is no one knows the truth. The state claims one thing the board the other. The public school parents attended the transportation meeting in full support of all private parents to the mess they made. The Newsday did not really report tbe true story. Yes there were people complaing about door to door, they were laughed at by ALL> The whole community was outraged by the fact high school students were walking from Meadowmere Park, past Cosco, crossing over and going to the High School with out a crossing guard. The board was angry, and swore they would fix it. As of today not yet. It was a public school mother, who said she was outraged that any child took a bus three in a seat. It was and is unacceptable. So, what did this board do? give drivers the authority to decide if they should stop door to door. Mind you more parents complained about time on the bus. Public school parents asked for the homework center to be reinstated, and held on Sunday's to service the whole community. We want to work together, yet, the board and certain memebrs of this community are doing their best to let it happen. The #6 school is not empty. Come November 21 to the #6 walkthrough board meeting, please, let us all show togetherness, let us get Gifted programs, that all childrens can use. Why not have students bused to one school. Why not? Your children don't deserve the opportunities, why should your children not be included in our art program, together, united. It is far easier to not give anyone anything, as long as we are killing eachother.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The school district now has almost a 50 50 split between private and public. This district does not only send its children to yeshivas. Unfortunately, some people are not moving out and sending to other private schools. Special Education has risen on the public side because of religous children a few hundred last count being enrolled in the public school. Cpse children are included in that number as well. Look at state stats, the enrollment has dropped maybe 40 this year.

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and we're spending 30 times as much to bus each kid to yeshiva

7:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think anon point was we spend 3000 per non public. I looked at the state web site, and anon was correct the way it is submitted it comes to 3000 per child. I do not find that hard to believe, when non public transportation inlcudes special education schools as well. What I find interesting is you were more focused on the transportation issue than anon request for the community as a whole comming together for our children and attend board meetings.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When anon blames the district's financial woes on the drop in the bucket expenditures on private school students, there's really no reason to read anon's comments any further, since it's obvious how disengenuous they are.

Can someone point me toward the state website where it says it costs $89/yr to bus each public school child?

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When anon blames the district's financial woes on the drop in the bucket expenditures on private school students, there's really no reason to read anon's comments any further, since it's obvious how disengenuous they are.

Can someone point me toward the state website where it says it costs $89/yr to bus each public school child?

11:27 PM  
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5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do the math. Divide the number of students transported by the ACTUAL (not budgeted) dollars spent to transport them and you'll get the per pupil cost. It's that simple! The business office should be able to provide that information. The $89 and $3,000 numbers seem a bit out of line, unless your trying to stir the pot some more to divide the community.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

trying to stir the pot some more to divide the community.

Absolutely not, this was how it was listed on the state site, public busing , then private busing. Now, private busing includes children who go to schools for disabilities and regular prep type schools. It seems to me know one person is getting the right answer. Perhaps Dr. Mansdorf should concern himself on making the district strong for ALL our children and not worry about two school districts.

12:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely not, this was how it was listed on the state site, public busing , then private busing.

Is it too much to ask for someone to share a link to this state site that everyone seems to know about?

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