By Tova Plaut

I have wanted to run for the school board for a long time. My involvement in every school-board election for more than a decade has given me insight and respect for the current members of the board, who have worked on behalf of our community for so long. When I learned that a seat opened up on the board I decided to take the plunge.

I am an educator and director of a school in Suffolk County. My credentials include a degree in Community and Human Services with a concentration in Early Childhood Education, a child-development credential, Medical Administration and an Administrator’s Credential from the State of New York. In addition, I have recently been chosen by a national council for professional recognition to become a professional development specialist, which includes overseeing and credentialing educators to become teachers. I have worked and continue to work with a diverse community of children, including those with special needs.

For those of you who are new to the neighborhood, you may not be aware of the situation that existed in the Lawrence School District more than a decade ago. Taxes rose by 10% every year. Yeshiva students were routinely denied access to services to which they were entitled and state-mandated to receive. Some of the services often denied our children were textbooks, busing to school, special-education services, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.

Then a brave member of the board stepped forward. Dr. David Sussman, whose support I am proud to enjoy in this election, stood up for the needs of yeshiva parents and yeshiva students. Eventually, Asher Mansdorf stepped up as the lone Orthodox voice. Then others followed.

The board has kept our taxes low. Look no further than the houses on the east side of Woodmere Boulevard to see evidence of the Lawrence School Board’s fiscal prudence. A house in District 14 has a tax bill twice that of a comparable house in District 15.

As a woman and an educator, I will bring a unique perspective to the board. I am a longtime resident of District 15 and have lived in the community for seventeen years. I enjoy living here and have always dedicated my time and expertise for the betterment of our community. I have volunteered on countless community projects over the past decade and a half. A few examples are: I have run five marathons with my incredible children to benefit the kids of Chai Lifeline, I helped run the Achiezer relief center and cleaned up homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, and I presided over my child’s school sisterhood supperette and served on the dinner committees.

The issues before the school board include the management of a large school budget, quality education for all our students, and maintaining and improving the services which our children are entitled to receive.

Our community cannot afford to be divided. We have worked hard for many years to elect a school board that is responsive to the needs of the entire community. It’s time for a woman and an educator to serve on the school board.

I am running to ensure that the gains we have made as a community remain intact and that the services which our children are entitled to are not only maintained but improved.

I believe in children and in the value of a quality education. I will never stand by while our children lose or are denied services, such as busing and special-education services, as they were many years ago.

Most importantly, I am a teacher, an administrator, and a career educator who will bring teaching and education management skills to the board for the benefit of all the children in School District 15.

Please do not divide the community. We have achieved so much with our unity.

It is time to elect a woman. It is time to elect me. v

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