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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

SD15 Updates

A few updates on School District 15:

1.CNN reported on the conflict over the weekend (link to video here). I think the piece is relatively balanced, aside from a few comments here or there, such as this one, heard in the video's voice-over:
Now, some parents are concerned that the Orthodox majority will use its power to divert public money to private schools, and even close some schools.
I'm quite sure that parents are concerned about both of those possibilities. I am equally sure that the first fear is an unfounded one, as diverting money directly to private schools is quite illegal. Do private school parents want to receive equal funding when it comes to those services allowed by law, such as transportation, textbooks and special education? Absolutely. But that's a far cry from any expectation of diverting funds directly to schools. And as far as closing schools? That isn't as shocking as the reporter makes it sound. If the public school population keeps dwindling at the rate it has been, there will be fewer buildings needed. It's quite simple. Nothing unfair, nefarious or conniving in that.

Another quote that made me roll my eyes, from Professor William Helmreich of the Queens College Center for Jewish Studies (their education expert of choice, I guess):
What would happen, for example, if in Dearborn, Michigan, the Muslim community decided to run people for the school board, put people on the school board, and said, that, uh, we only want half day of school on Friday? It's our religious requirement?
Huh??? That is relevant to the Lawrence school board conflict how?? Has anyone said anything of the sort here? This conflict has nothing to do with changing school policy to make a majority who do attend the public schools more comfortable (though that is perfectly in order, hence Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashana being vacation days), and everything to do with procuring equitable services for taxpaying citizens who don't attend the public schools - to the fullest extent allowed by the law. Not to mention the fact that Professor Helmreich shows a woeful ignorance of the Islamic religion, as Muslims would not want a half day off on Friday, they would want a full day off, as Friday is their holy day. Maybe the good professor is mixing up Islam with Orthodox Judaism - he does seem a bit confused.

A great quote from school board member Pam Greenbaum:
This has nothing to do with religion, though. It has to do with money. And once you realize that, and you take the religion out of it...
Exactly right. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with money. A majority of district taxpayers would like to receive services to the fullest extent they are allowed. They want to receive equitable funding for textbooks, busing, and Special Education. And that has nothing to do with their religion or observance levels, and everything to do with their being equal, taxpaying citizens.

And regarding equitable services, that brings me to the second development:

2. The rumor mill has been buzzing with talk of a postponement of the referendum I mentioned here, and The Jewish Star confirms it in tomorrow's edition:
Lawrence School Board President Asher Mansdorf has postponed the upcoming votes on pre-k busing and free use of school facilities for residents of District 15.
A source close to the discussions said the vote would be rescheduled, perhaps for sometime in March, in order to give voters an opportunity to weigh in on two other matters at the same time. A technology upgrade is to be proposed, and paid for with more than half a million dollars remaining from a state grant obtained by Senator Dean Skelos. The rest of that grant was used as an emergency expenditure in order to fix the ceiling of the High School auditorium, which was coming down, and to
schedule repair of a school building elevator which has been in disrepair for a number of years.
The decision came days after a petition asking the state education commissioner to step in and delay the vote was signed by approximately 250 voters and filed with the New York State Dept. of Education. Board member Pamela Greenbaum, who voted against the referendum when it was introduced several week ago, voted against postponing it, as well. It was a matter of conscience, she suggested. "You have to wonder what people's motives are," she said, suggesting the vote was postponed on account of the petition. Not true, said Mansdorf, who said the events were unconnected.
The petition to delay the vote apparently was rooted in opposition to the proposals presented in the referendum - pre-K busing for private school students and free facility usage for all district youth groups and associations. Mansdorf weighs in on the proposals:
The bottom line on cost, Mansdorf said, is "I have a population out there that's spending 40 or 50 million dollars a year in taxes and what do they get for it? Transportation, special ed, and books. And I have another population that spending 40 or 50 million dollars a year in taxes and what do they get for it? Transportation, and special ed, and books, and teachers, and schools and school lunches and everything else."
Sounds fair. If public school students are getting free pre-K busing (which they are), then so should private school students. That's what fair and equitable treatment is all about.

Mansdorf also makes a few points, plugging the accomplishments of the new board:
"As a result of the fact that we demanded change, truancy is way down in the high school - down in the area of 50-percent," Mansdorf said. "As a result of the fact that we demanded change, discipline has been reintroduced to the middle school. As a result of the fact that we demanded change, the principals are reporting to us on a regular basis. The high school auditorium ceiling was fixed a year ahead of schedule
because we didn't do it by committee. I told one person - get it done - and it got done."
Warming to his theme, Mansdorf continued, "We raised money from the county of Nassau to fix sidewalks at the Number Six School by hounding our county legislator. And it got done. We used Excel [grant] money to schedule repair of an elevator that's been in disrepair for years. And the only reason we have that Excel money is because one person kept calling our state senator begging for money to be used in our district.
Not a committee. One person. I've brought into the district somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million in legislative grants since I was elected five years ago."
"I challenge anyone: come walk through the buildings with me. It's an embarrassment what previous public school boards did not do to those buildings pre-contingency. The only reason we are where we are now is those boards did not do their job."
If this board is really getting the results that Mansdorf is outlining, I applaud them. It is clear that the previous boards, who did not have the present Orthodox majority that has Lawrence public school parents running so scared, did not do as much for the children as I would have hoped. The continued low test scores are but one sign of that, Dr. Mansdorf's examples some others.

I will update these stories as more details come in.

89 Comments:

Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

In all fairness to Prof. Helmreich, they probably interviewed him for 45 minutes only to use that one stinker, which was probably said in the context of an entirely different point altogether.

9:05 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Still Wonderin' said...

In all fairness to Prof. Helmreich, they probably interviewed him for 45 minutes only to use that one stinker, which was probably said in the context of an entirely different point altogether.


That is clear, as his point had nothing to with the news clip. Poor guy. His 15 minutes killed by CNN.

9:14 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

I'd also say be wary of using test scores of proof of anything tangible

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Odd, Dr. Mansdorf seems to suggest that the decision to cancel the referendum was made, by him, a day after the Petition was served. That was Wednesday. Answering papers were due today. Lo and behold, an emergency board meeting was scheduled and held on Friday, at which time the vote took place. Is he saying that the majority discussed it an decided what to do before then and if so, isn't that against the rules? Is he saying the Petition had no part in the timing of this particular emergency meeting? Are we supposed to believe that? Is he saying that he will reschedule a referendum on passing along the cost of private groups' building use to the district during this contingency budget cycle? When they say citizens fear that the Trustees will attempt to divert public education funds to private interests, that's exactly the sort of thing they were discussing.

9:22 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I'd also say be wary of using test scores of proof of anything tangible

not tangible, but certainly a sign. It's hard to stomach the fact that this district somehow shows that teachers salaries and per/student spending can have an inverse relationship with test scores.

9:23 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Is he saying that he will reschedule a referendum on passing along the cost of private groups' building use to the district during this contingency budget cycle? When they say citizens fear that the Trustees will attempt to divert public education funds to private interests, that's exactly the sort of thing they were discussing.

No, they said they fear public education funds will go towards private schools. That's not gonna happen. How can you compare that to the referendum allowing free building usage for district youth, whether they attend private or public school? My child is just as entitled to play in a public school gym for free as a public school student is. And if you admit that the "citizen's" (um...what am I, exactly, if not a citizen?) fears are that public school money will go towards taxpaying children getting equitable resources, then the "citizens" which you presume to speak for are unfair indeed.

9:32 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

as long as we keep it at relationship MOM, (or correlation) and not any causality. I've spent too much time studying how high stakes testing does more damage than good.

9:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Groups to which public school kids belong pay the very same fees as private school kids. Guess what, a lot of these groups contain a mix. Youth groups pay nothing for custodians until after 11 pm, regardless of whether they were originated in the building or outside of it. But youth and adults pay the same administrative fees for their building use permits - and the District, on a contingency budget at the insistence of the taxpayers, has no legal ability to waive those fees this year. If they had the ability they would have done it without attempting a referendum - it was on the Board's agenda in August and that is why it didnt happen by a simple vote of the Board then. The Board then tried to abolish administrative fees via this taxpayer referendum, in violation of the contingency budget statute, and did not even attempt to defend the referendum when the Petition came on to be heard. And by citizens, I mean citizens: parents of school age children, and people who have no kids of school age at all. We all have money in this pot and we all want to see it spent wisely and legally.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scary stuff. Question.In letters to the editor at the Herald it seems that the loudest voices come from Atlantic Beach. O.K. I understand that they are part of this school district. They use the school and the library here. Fine, but why can't I park on their streets?

9:47 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

That's as may be Dag, but "high stakes testing" has been instituted (as a general matter) in response to shortfalls in academic prowess, it may be an imperfect solution, but it is not the root source of schools having academic problems.

9:48 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

And by citizens, I mean citizens: parents of school age children, and people who have no kids of school age at all. We all have money in this pot and we all want to see it spent wisely and legally.

Yeah right. That's what you meant when you made your first comment. You were speaking for all of the citizens of the community.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Citizens. As in, people who live here. As in, the over 250 people who signed that grievance filed in Albany. That's the word the CNN story used, and that's the word I used. Your attempt to draw some nefarious meaning from it does not change the fact that the Board retracted these illegal referendums rather than attempt to justify them as authorized under the current contingency budget.

10:22 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

I never claimed testing was the problem, SA...I said be wary of presuming it tells us anything of real substance.

The fundamental issue is that education is prepardigmatic, we have no set of rules that precisely explains what works and what does not in education. We don't even really know HOW people learn in the first place, let alone a set of efficacious procedures for maximizing learning for a diverse, vibrant student classroom population.

Academics would say education is a field..not a discipline. In education, we borrow from other disciplines, anthropology, sociology, political science, etc. and try to piece together theory that explains education. I had a long conversation about that very issue with my advisor, who developed the theory behind outcome based education, and admits, to this day that he is unsure whether it works.

Understandably, the public wants solutions, not academic gibberish...so we get quick fix solutions, like high stakes testing, that solve nothing and raise a host of other issues.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous goyguy said...

9:47 PM Anonymous said...
"Scary stuff. Question.In letters to the editor at the Herald it seems that the loudest voices come from Atlantic Beach. O.K. I understand that they are part of this school district. They use the school and the library here. Fine, but why can't I park on their streets?"

That's not really the case now, is it?

The only time you can't park on the street in AB is during hours when their is no parking for ANYONE. Including residents. Every village in the area except Cedarhurst has similar restrictions. You can't park on the streets during certain hours in Hewlett Bay Park, Hewlett Harbor, Hewlett Neck, Woodsburg, Lawrence, Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Rockville Centre,Malverne, etc. Resident or not.

The parking lots in the medians in AB are reserved for resident permit holders.
Cedarhurst, Lawrence, Lynbrook etc. all have lots reserved for resident permit holders, don't they?

What's the difference?

10:53 PM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

Dag - Yeah, I pretty much agree with you that its very hard to "know" whether a given educational method is working or not (even leaving aside any divergence in views over what the goals of the educational system actually are). I just wanted to point out that the discussion over testing is set in the context of trying to fix a broken system - wasn't really taking issue with what you said about the value of testing in general (on which I am somewhat ambivalent).

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe a mined security wall at the AB Bridge-Their boardwalk was empty last summer

11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a public school parent, I have no problem with equal pre-k busing. As long as everyone realizes the tax hike that will go along with it I am ok. Orthomom you yourself say equality for text books,transportation and special education. Where does free building usage come into play. I cannont support this. Sorry. Now as far as the Excel grant, we have a little over one million dollars from the state. With all do respect to Dr. Mansdorf everyone in the state has this money. Also, we have technically don't have the moneyl. We have to spend the money before we get the money back from the state. Last year the board claimed to have money for the roof put aside, why now say they took it out of EXCEL, also excel money cannot be used without a vote. It would be nice if the board would be interested in the high schools poor condition, and the lack of technology. Either way, lets move past the bull, and go foward, I propose the following, no school closings for 2 years enrollment according to the state is only down 2 percent the past 3 years. After school homework centers for all district children. Day care centers for teachers who teach ANY school district 15, subsidized by the individual teacher. Technology centers for all children. New playground facilities that don't have sand fleas and lead paint. Gate programs for all children, Bus matrons on overcrowded buses. District wide testing each year to identify at risk students. Appeal board made up of parents and teachers for special education, to save money on lawsuits. No more than twenty to a class in elementry school. Assistant super for non public children. I think this is a fair deal....

1:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the CNN piece and was amazed to here that the country is watching us to see what happens. That is scary. I agree what do the muslims in Dearborn have to do with us? Time filler. I do have to say, they found the most ethnic class to film. The # 4 school has a very balanced enrollment. Dr. Mansdorf was quoted as saying the public school children get lunch. The only children who get free lunch are the ones whose parents have filled out forms for. They have to qualify through the government. The whole school district does not get free food. I can swear to that. Is that what the non public community is jealous about? Have you ever seen what they make?

1:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is no great mitzvah to be melamed zchus on Helmreich. At the first Edah convention, he said some downright nasty things about people frummer than him. It's unfortunate because his first book was a classic. He has somehow got caught up in the whole charedi bashing thing.

3:36 AM  
Blogger RR said...

I saw that clip here in Israel, and my first thought was, "Hey, I read about this whole thing on Orthomom!"

11:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Equal transporttaion, textbooks and special ed? Transportation services are identified in education law as to what can and can't be given to non-publioc schools. You may be suprised to see what's eligible.

Special Ed-all childen residing in the district are eligible for services once they've been screened and their needs identified. Remember, the district pupil personnell department makes the majority of the placements.

Textbooks-the state sets the dollar figure they reimburse the dsitricts for non-public textbooks. BTW not all non-public schools request books from the district. That figure is far short of the actual cost of the books. Not much different than the actual cost of the district prek program, where the $400,000 grant covers only a portion of the total cost to run the program. (per Sam Donato it cost well over $1 million and that was 5 years ago)

Bottom line is our kids (public and non-public) benefit from all the services they receive from the district.

As is often sung "let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me...)

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The public pre-K program 5 years ago is not the universal pre-k offered this year, under new funding by the NYS Dept. of Education. The new funding statute allows for transportation to pre-k but those transportation dollars are not eligible for the usual transportation state aid and are not subject to the equalization requirements for public and private schools. Special program, special circumstances. Rather than contest this, the board of education withdrew the referendum before answering the grievance filed by all those people.

3:17 PM  
Blogger DAG said...

I can tell you that when we moved to woodmere last year, we applied for PT for my daughter who was a 3 month premie and who had been in therapy for 3 years. We were denied....

5:04 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'What would happen, for example, if in Dearborn, Michigan, the Muslim community decided to run people for the school board'

Dennis Prager would go into orbit.

'Sounds fair. If public school students are getting free pre-K busing (which they are), then so should private school students. '

Sounds fair to me, too. Of course, here in NYC, kids take New York City Transit.

'not tangible, but certainly a sign. It's hard to stomach the fact that this district somehow shows that teachers salaries and per/student spending can have an inverse relationship with test scores. '

One of my first publications was a letter to the editor of a local newspaper in Connecticut that bemoaned the fact that Utah spent much less per student than Connecticut (where I then lived) and had higher SAT scores. I pointed out that about 80% of high school students in Connecticut took the SAT, while only 4% did in Utah -- the top students who were applying to competitive out of state colleges. (Brigham Young, Utah State, and the University of Utah required a different test, the ACT.) If more and more of the student body is attending private schools, declining test scores in the public schools would not be a surprise as the students who remain in the public schools would be less well off and demographics are the best predictor of test scores.


'they said they fear public education funds will go towards private schools. That's not gonna happen.'

Not until the Blaine amendment is repealed. (Don't hold your breath.)

6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PT for my daughter who was a 3 month premie and who had been in therapy for 3 years. We were denied....


I can tell you two things about that
1. If the scores were not lower than 33% than your daughter did not qualify.
2. CPSE is very fair in this district, far better than CSE, if you are not happy I suggest you call the head of pupil personnel Susan Kosser.
Once a child switches over to cse they only give pt to children who are a safety risk.

Hope this helps.

10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I have a population out there that's spending 40 or 50 million dollars a year in taxes and what do they get for it? Transportation, special ed, and books

Why even say that. This is the law, it is not the fault of the public school children or their parents. Nowhere does it state free building usage. Let me ask people on this blog this. If when we put up these referendum in the spring, and we all pass it will this community support the following?
1. No school closings
2. 20 to a class
3. Afterschool programs

Let me know what you think

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

all hail the saviors!! the new board demanded that truancy be limited, and it was limited! rhey demanded that discipline be improved, and it improved! how Dr. Mansdorf knows that discipline is better anywhere, I don't know. Either way, I hope the new board continues making more demands, since the one's they have already made are working so well! BTW, I know that at least one district elevator has been broken on and off for years, and is still currently out of commission. Either the grant money was spent on a different elevator, or it was diverted elsewhere.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

will this community support the following?
1. No school closings


Why would anyone support "No school closings"?

It doesn't make any educational or fiscal sense. The buildings are all far below their intended capacity. And it's about time this district ended segregation.

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

will this community support the following?
1. No school closings


Why would anyone support "No school closings"?

It doesn't make any educational or fiscal sense. The buildings are all far below their intended capacity. And it's about time this district ended segregation.

1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

will this community support the following?
1. No school closings


Why would anyone support "No school closings"?

It doesn't make any educational or fiscal sense. The buildings are all far below their intended capacity. And it's about time this district ended segregation.

1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

will this community support the following?
1. No school closings


Why would anyone support "No school closings"?

It doesn't make any educational or fiscal sense. The buildings are all far below their intended capacity. And it's about time this district ended segregation.

1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

will this community support the following?
1. No school closings


Why would anyone support "No school closings"?

It doesn't make any educational or fiscal sense. The buildings are all far below their intended capacity. And it's about time this district ended segregation.

1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. No school closings-WHY? support your point with facts.

2. 20 per class- WHY? -support your point with facts.

3. After school programs- YES for ALL - Does this mean late buses also?

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two reasons for no school closings:

1. For the convenience of parents and children (who attend the school slated to be closed) - If a school is closed, those children may have to travel farther. to get to school.

2. To prevent children from a certain neighborhood from mixing with children from other neighborhoods before Middle School.

Conversely, there are two reasons for moving forward with school closings:

1. The number of children in every school building is well below capacity (as evidenced by the number of children that have occupied each building in past years) and it's fiscally irresponsible to maintain unecessary buildings and to duplicate personnel and services in various buildings.

2. Children in certain schools are underperforming because they are segregated from better performing students.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it selfish to demand that one's children be segregated from those who are underperforming?

Is it wrong to expect that one's children travel a short distance to get to school?

12:19 PM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

Isn't it the responsibility of the Board and the District administration to provide the best education and to make sound fiscal decisions for the broad community. If closing a school adversely affects those who attend that school, but the outcome is positive for the entire district, then it would seem like a no brainer for the Board and the District administration to do so.

Obviously, there needs to be thoughtful consideration as to which school would be most appropriate to close, but is there any denying that the fiscally and academically responsible move is to close a school?

Of course, there are those who will say that the classrooms are overcrowded and there's no justification for any further consolidation. This, of course, should be taken into account in the thoughtful consideration, and it's extremely hard to believe that all of the schools are overcrowded, considering that there were at one time double the number of students with one additional building open.

12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Segregation? Underperforming? If you reveiw the 2005-6 scores, all the elementry schools performed at about 78-80%. The number five school did the best, but I think that proves the point that smaller schools provide a better education. The number six school does not have one open classroom. Yes, scores went down last year. Interesting that they went down when last year class size went from 20 to 25 and in some second grade classrooms, 26. If you look at research all schools including new york city are trending towards smaller classes and smaller schools. Yes, if we take away the pt and ot rooms, there would be two classrooms. Closing number one was supposed to save money and provide more, yet has anyone seen this happen? I have attached a link below to a four year study in which proves smaller classrooms produce. Scores have gone down,class sizes have gone up, but yet we are the only district on Long Island that is busing during Christmas Vacation. How can we afford that, and not put a new elevator, or much needed technology in. When yeshivas cannot handle a child, which does happen, we take them, our children accept this child with open arms. There are many children in the public schools from ALL walks of life. I do not use the minority issue for under performance, as I think it is a cop out, but some children have major behavioral issues, and the districts hands are tied, they do not qualify for special education, and legally teachers cannot say boo. Then there are the true ADHD children whose parents do not believe yet their children have problems. In private school no matter what type a school can refuse we can't. Add asthma on the rise and other problems and you have a class that the teacher is too busy tending to issues than teaching. There are many ways to fill the buildings, many local districts around us do not have the aba programs we do, and would be happy to pay us a lot of money. Yet, why is there no one marketing our programs? We can become a cpse testing center, add more pre school classes like hasc, and we would save another building. I question the motive behind closing before other options have been investigated.

4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is not a single administrator who has suggested that any school closings can be done with any benefit to the district this year. School enrollment holds steady since Number One was closed two years ago. Residence development is proposed for the beach club properties in Atlantic Beach and for some property by the Five Towns Shopping Center. The claim that more schools need to be closed is a fiction, plain and simple - if it had any merit, the Board would have already announced it.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Board would have already announced it.

Interesting reasoning. So if the Board announces it, then it automatically has merit?

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it the responsibility of the Board and the District administration to provide the best education and to make sound fiscal decisions for the broad community

Yes, so let us see some intelligent decisions, I can live with pre-k busing but not building usage. I can complain that special education is not that fair for the public school children, knowing many chldren were not classified not because of there school but because they were not a minority. Yet the state came in and claims we are over and above. Why not get creative. Roosevelt opened a magnet school. Class sizes small reading scores high. How about classes in sensory learning. A true gifted school, a montessori based classroom. Forget closing, and let us move ahead creatively.Taxes are high, but I have chosed to live here, so I must pay.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The number five school did the best, but I think that proves the point that smaller schools provide a better education.

Or, it proves that the better performing kids do better without segregation.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The number six school does not have one open classroom.

Then they must be using all the extra rooms for storage. There's no disputing the numbers that the building has successfully accomodated in the past.

You say every room is being used. I say either you're lying or something stinks here and there is some grand coverup as to why the building has lost 50% of its capacity over the years.

5:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on the article from the Jewish Times...It seems Dr. Mansdorf takes credit for everything good that has ever happened in Lawrence, while ignoring the fact that he has also been on that board for six years.
It brings to mind a saying that goes something like " if you try to make yourself look good at the expense of making others look bad, you will become vain or bitter..."
He is fortunate to be able to influence legislators (when running for office) with a block of votes... sounds like dirty politics to me...
What happened to giving credit where credit is due...the accomplishments at the high school are as a result of initiatives implemented by the new principal two years ago...
The new board members ought to attend a class for proper board-like behavior...writing articles in newspapers is inappropriate and self serving...
It is time that board members focus on their job and not their egos.
Dr. Mansdorf's "just do it" attitude has accomplished nothing more than lawsuits and negative press.
Everyone concerned should try and keep the focus on the children of the schools and not their personal agendas..

5:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My kids are not "storage." Number Six has no open classrooms since it doubled its student body size two years ago. Sorry to burst your bubble. The building successfully accomodated 250 new students 2 years ago.

Sorry, I do not understand where you get the figure "the building has lost 50% of its capacity over the years." It gained a 100% increase in student body size over the years. Dr. "Get It Done" Mansdorf would have been shouting it from the rooftops if what you say had any truth.

Number Five similarly has no

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So the district had 7,000 students in 7 buildings and now they have 3,300 students in 6 buildings.

I can certainly appreciate that they've managed to find a use for every open classroom, but that certainly isn't proof positive of anything.

There wasn't much legitimacy to the "crowded classrooms argument" when it was voiced in objection to the #1 school closing, and there's not much legitimacy to it now either.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say either you're lying or something stinks here and there is some grand coverup as to why the building has lost 50% of its capacity over the years.

I am going to go with a different answer, misinformation. In 1998
The number six school 303
The number two school 437
The number five school 347
http://emsc33.nysed.gov/repcrd2000/280215030006.pdf

In 2004-2005 there were a total of 487 students at number 6
400 students at number 2
397 students at number 5
http://emsc32.nysed.gov/repcrd2005/cir/28021503000

So figure it this way;
Number six went up 187 students Not a good idea to close that school. There are no empty rooms.

Number 5 went down 50 students which is about 2 classrooms.
Number 2 is 37 less, for arguments sake 2 classrooms, neither school will fit into another. The number four school, close that and you have 236 children, that is about twelve classroom, no room for that either. Statistics don't lie. I gave you the web sites to verify. Perhaps in a couple of years we will need to close, but as you can see numbers don't lie.

In 1998 we had a total of 3712 public school children in 2005 we had 3405. This is only a 2% difference

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

district had 7,000 students in 7 buildings? Let me ask you a question we had 3700 students in 1998 when did we have 7000 students 1920

6:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be ridiculous. This stuff is documented - you can't just make it up. There were 3,804 students in '02-'03 and by '05-'06, it was down to 3,451.

Quit making up numbers. There certainly wasn't an increse from '98 to '02, so there more likely 4,000 to 4,500 in '98.

And no one suggested that there were 7,000 in '98, but there were approximately that many students in the 70s.

7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quit making up numbers. There certainly wasn't an increse from '98 to '02, so there more likely 4,000 to 4,500 in '98.





Attached please find the web link for the amount of students in 1998
1998-1999 3712
1999-2000
2000-2001 3730
2001-2002 3704
2002-2003 3714
2003-2004 3603
2004-2005 3463
http://emsc32.nysed.gov/repcrd2000/280215030000.pdf

http://emsc33.nysed.gov/repcrdfall2003/cir/280215030000.pdf

You are right the figures are there do not lie. Please read the attched web links to the accurate school totals.

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course those numbers are higher - they include all of the private school children who are dual enrolled (and obviously don't take up much space in the public school buildings). Unless, of course the district is using classrooms to store the files for each children.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes- we have blow up kids to sit in empty classrooms to make them look occupied~

Why not get your facts straight instead of believing the self serving crap your rabbis toss at you to help sway the votes and get public funds diverted to offset their high fees for yeshivas!

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way- the supposed "youth groups" that use the public school buildings are starting to include adults holding prayer services in our schools!

Where do you expect the money to come from to pay for Pre-K busing, and building usage (ex. heat, insurance, maintenance) in a contingency budget?

The only possible place would be from the public school budget- programs for our children?
Or personnel that teach them?
There is no magic ball of cash to pay for all these things!
So YES - this vote is an attempt to clearly DIVERT funds from the public school to the private.

Drive your own children to pre-school like we all have done. The only children who have been bussed in the past (before the 19 this year)where from a poverty level.
They would not have been able to get to school otherwise.
This vote is for the lazy parents - not for the children!
I guess when you have a board member who has stated that it is a "hardship" to have young children- anything goes!

9:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, the hatred

9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all that hatred and venom, why don't you just go out and win an election? Wouldn't that take you out of your misery?

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its not hatred, its disgust.

10:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all that disgust, why don't you just go out and win an election? Wouldn't that take you out of your misery?

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It certainly is disgusting. What business do those religious jews have serving on the school board anyway? They ought to pay for our kids' education and then just mind their own business. It's simply disgusting how they expect their kids to receive any increased services when their money can be spent on our children instead.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the last comment is so sarcastic, especially the part that says "their money can be spent on our children instead", I'd bet the ranch that the post was written by an Orthodox member of the community posing as an angry public school parent.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Spirit_of_Lawrence said...

What's the difference whether the writer is an orthodox jew or not. The sentiments expressed by Anon 11:10 are troubling regardless, and they're unfortunately the thinly veiled theme of many comments here, and the sentimentss of most of the vocal attendees at school board meetings.

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The entire community can learn a lesson from the efforts of Siconolfi & Feldman. Two people with clear heads and minds to achieve the goal of educating all of our children. We ALL need to make the same concerted effort to achieve the same success that these two men have accomplished.

Happy New Year to ALL. May 2007 bring Peace, Understanding and Harmony for our entire community.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. Mansdorf's comment is amazing. He just doesnt get it. Sure he has two communities that spends tax money on school budgets and do not receive the same services. THAT"S THE LAW! He sounds so ignorant when he states that the private schools should be getting more. The private school parents are not allowed BY LAW to get more. THe public school education is totally funded by school taxes. That is the american way. Come on people, everyone who moved to this neighborhood knew the school taxes when you bought your house, did you not? Do you not know that public money cannot be spent on anything but transportation, textbooks, special education, health and welfare - and the district provides for these things already - and according to the state reports - provdides above what is state mandated in those areas. Look it up. Contact the state. Don't take my word for it.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would that it would be so easy to win an election here!

Unfortunately there have been some underhanded deals made by some unscrupulous "supposed" politicians.
I was in awe when I saw signs for Sussman on lawns in Inwood! What was that about?

That combined with the past practice of not checking ids at election sites had hurt the public school candidates.

Maybe this year will show some change.
One can only hope for a school board that shares this theme of "EQUALITY" that Uri Kaufman likes to spout about!

Equal representation on our school would be a nice start.

Food for thought!

6:13 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

and the district provides for these things already - and according to the state reports - provdides above what is state mandated in those areas.

I think Dr. Mansdorf's point here is pretty clear. The private school community IS only legally entitled to certain benefits. The question here is whether those benefits are being provided as generously as they should be. You talk about the fact that the private school community is getting more than the state mandate. So what? The public school community is getting far more than the state mandate as well. I think that the argument of sticking to the state mandate is one you should consider dropping. Would you like the public schools to return to the state mandate as well? Would you like the per/student spending for district 15 to be lowered to that of the districts which are educating their children along the lines of the bare minimum of the state mandate? Like districts that have no sports programming at all? No extracurricular clubs? I didn't think so. Neither do I.

So stop with the argument of the private school community receiving more than the state mandate. That standard is not in play in this affluent district with its high taxes.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

correction:
on our school BOARD I meant...

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you not know that public money cannot be spent on anything but transportation, textbooks, special education, health and welfare - and the district provides for these things already - and according to the state reports - provdides above what is state mandated in those areas. Look it up. Contact the state. Don't take my word for it.

Ignorance at its best. I'm a public school parent, and even I understand what the private school parents want. As you said, "transportation, textbooks, special education, health and welfare". That's all they're asking for.

They haven't asked for a single thing that is not permitted by law. They just want it to be equal. For example, if 4 years going to #4 get transportation to pre-k, then the kids who go to private school should get it too....it's called eqaulity.

To offer state approved services to public school kids at a different level than kids that go to private school is not equal. My kids don't go to private schools, but if they did, I'd want them to get the same treatment.

We all have to stop thinking of a "nonpublic" child as someone trying to get something they're not entitled to. In fact, that nonpublic child helps us cut the number of overpaid LTA members and their high priced salaries and benefits that crippled this district financially 5 years ago.

Amazing we pay $100k + benefits for most teachers and get lousy test scores. The yeshivas pay their teachers $30k + marginal benefits and their test scores are way, way higher. Maybe we have something to learn from them.

6:29 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...


That combined with the past practice of not checking ids at election sites had hurt the public school candidates.


First of all, checking ID's at a polling place is generally determined to be ILLEGAL in the state of NY. Second of all, your contention that the practice of not checking ID's hurts the public school candidates is laugh-out-loud funny.


Equal representation on our school would be a nice start.


I don't know what that statement even means. We live in a democracy. Those who vote are the ones who win. I'm sorry if you feel somehow cheated by the fact that the majority has been voting against your agenda. That's what America is all about. Maybe you can find a country where you can become king and automatically be granted your preference instead of having to deal with the pesky free and democratic elections thing.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Equal representation on our school would be a nice start

Were you asking for that when there was a majority, or even a monopoly of Public School representation on the board?
A few years ago, the orthodox did ask, and that is why they mobilised to elect candidates who would fight for their interests.
Democracy as it was meant to be.
If the public school people would've acted fairly toward their growing private school minority (at the time), all this nonsense would never have needed to happen.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Equal representation on our school would be a nice start"

what a stupid stupid statement. taxation=representation. if there are more taxpaying citizens on one side of a debate, they win. you dont get representation just becaiuse you want it.

hello democracy. god bless america. and all that.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here lies the root of the whole problem in our district.

The inflated thought that the public had anything to do with what the private school people deemed unfair treatment.

How were you ever treated unfairrly?
When you are bussed to any school of your choosing? When you receive books and services governed by state mandates?
When your services were given out freely by a much too leniant pupil personel dept run by a more than fair leader?

There is never enough to make you happy.

This is what happens when you try to come into an area and take over.
You always got what you were allowed and then some.

If truth be told- a transportation budget of close to $8 million is outrageous.
If the powers that be had any brains- they would limit the schools that could be travelled to - to a reasonable number. Your bussing cripples this district- clearly!

Now you have the audacity to want to add countless pre-schools to this number and we are supposed to be thrilled that there is no budget money to pay for it.

Pass a budget - then get your buses.
Do not rob from our children and their programs because you are too lazy to drive your little ones to school.

Work for it! Lobby to pass a budget that includes a line for this busing.
Do not steal it!

7:56 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

When your services were given out freely by a much too leniant pupil personel dept run by a more than fair leader?


Freely? Much too lenient? I think not. I have a large stash of e-mails from outraged private school parents whose children were victims of the "lenient" pupil personnel department. And as I've mentioned here numerous times, there is a disparity in the numbers of private school and public school students receiving special ed services that belies your claims of "more than fair" treatment.


There is never enough to make you happy.

This is what happens when you try to come into an area and take over.
You always got what you were allowed and then some.


Excuse me?? No. This is what happens when a taxpaying majority of a district watches a public school system throw more and more money at constantly declining test scores while the majority's benefits are not given as generously as they would hope.

This is an extremely lavish district with all kinds of services given to its students. There is no reason that this generosity and lavish spending should stop short of the private school community.

It's all about equal treatment.

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 7:56----
This is the first year there is a "private school" majority on the board, yet the fourth failed budget. In the past four years, there have consistently been more voters voting AGAINST the budget, than voting FOR private school candidates. Coincidense? I think not. I think public school parents are equally uninterested in tax increases with no benefit to the children of this district.


And "STEALING" bus services? How about stealing a multi million dollar teachers contract? At least the former would've been by voter referendum, whereas the latter was by a lame duck board in direct contrast to the will of the electorate.

"You always got what you were allowed and then some"
As have you, my dear.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Goy Guy said...

7:28 PM Anonymous said...

"Equal representation on our school would be a nice start"

what a stupid stupid statement. taxation=representation. if there are more taxpaying citizens on one side of a debate, they win. you dont get representation just becaiuse you want it.

hello democracy. god bless america. and all that."

Actually, your statement:

"taxation=representation. if there are more taxpaying citizens on one side of a debate, they win. you dont get representation just becaiuse you want it."

is pretty stupid also.

The privilige of voting is bestowed upon all qualified RESIDENTS of an area. Paying taxes is not a legal qualification for voting in any state. Representation is decided by whichever group gets the most people off their fat asses and down to the polls.

Since I find it unlikely that the majority of possible voters in Lawrence school district have kids in private schools, it is simply that when you add the better turnout of the private school parents to the probably 30-45% of voters in any district anywhere that would vote down the budget or vote against the incumbant board members anyway, you end up with 'representation'

So once again...

Taxation does NOT equal Representation

Participation = Representation

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Freely? Much too lenient? I think not. I have a large stash of e-mails from outraged private school parents whose children were victims of the "lenient" pupil personnel department. And as I've mentioned here numerous times, there is a disparity in the numbers of private school and public school students receiving special ed services that belies your claims of "more than fair" treatment.


There is never enough to make you happy.

This is what happens when you try to come into an area and take over.
You always got what you were allowed and then some.

Excuse me?? No. This is what happens when a taxpaying majority of a district watches a public school system throw more and more money at constantly declining test scores while the majority's benefits are not given as generously as they would hope.

This is an extremely lavish district with all kinds of services given to its students. There is no reason that this generosity and lavish spending should stop short of the private school community.

It's all about equal treatment."


Maybe the dumbest post of all time!!

11:28 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...



Maybe the dumbest post of all time!!


considering the caliber of some of the comments we are lucky enough to see here on orthomom, I find it difficult to see how this one can be in the running for "dumbest of all time". But please, elaborate. I'd love to hear why you think so.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Come on people, everyone who moved to this neighborhood knew the school taxes when you bought your house, did you not?"

You must be kidding. Of course we all knew about school taxes when they moved in. But my school taxes have gone up incrementally each year almost as much as the public school student enrollment has gone down each year. That's not the Law, that's highway robbery!

11:52 PM  
Anonymous goyguy said...

11:52 PM Anonymous said...

' "Come on people, everyone who moved to this neighborhood knew the school taxes when you bought your house, did you not?"

You must be kidding. Of course we all knew about school taxes when they moved in. But my school taxes have gone up incrementally each year almost as much as the public school student enrollment has gone down each year. That's not the Law, that's highway robbery!'

Enrollment has been falling and taxes rising in virtually every school district for probably 20 years or so. This is not unique to Lawrence. My taxes have doubled in five years. It sucks. But my kid has a damn good school with a wonderful staff and programs and it's still a heck of a lot cheaper than paying tuition.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enrollment has been falling and taxes rising in virtually every school district for probably 20 years or so.

Let's try to be at least slightly honest and realistic here. Show us one district with even similar declining enrollment and an increasing budget.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our enrollment is not declining that fast and they closed a school to adjust for the 400 we lost in the past decade. The school's capacity was right around 400. As more and more proposed condos and rental properties get built do not be surprised to see public school nunmbers rise again. Declining enrollment is a self-serving myth.

7:20 PM  
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along with increasing budgets

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