Liverpool: School board, budget vote May 20

Next Tuesday, May 20, residents of the Liverpool Central School District will go to the polls to choose three board members from four candidates and to decide on a $132 million budget. In order to assist them in that endeavor, here are brief bios of the candidates as well as a breakdown of the budget proposal. For the candidates' full answers, visit cnylink.com.

Budget breakdown

2008-09 budget: $132, 981,924

Budget-to-budget increase over 2007-08: $5,328,914 (4.17 percent)

Tax rate increase: 0.12 percent

Of the total budget:

73.4 percent ($97,598,020) goes to pupil instruction, including personnel, materials, supplies and equipment.

3.4 percent ($4,522,895) goes to central administration.

10.8 percent ($14,422,132) goes to operations and maintenance.

6.1 percent ($8,074,308) goes to transportation.

6.3 percent ($8,364,570) goes to debt service and transfers.

Bus replacement referendum (Proposition No. 2)

The district is also asking residents to vote on a bus replacement referendum in the amount of $984,018 to be taken from the district's capital reserve fund. That money will purchase:

Seven 66-passenger buses

Two 15-passenger buses with wheelchair station

One 7-passenger Suburban

Two pickup trucks with dump boxes for maintenance staff

This vote will be decided separate from the budget vote.

Mark Lawson candidate info

Biographical information (name, family, occupation, years in the district):

J. Mark Lawson

Pastor, United Church of Christ in Bayberry

Adjunct Professor of Religion, LeMoyne College

Married to Martha, a teacher at Chestnut Hill Middle School.

Three sons -- Aaron, a junior at Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; Alex, a junior at LHS; and Nathaniel, a freshman at LHS.

Resident of Liverpool for 18 years.

Why are you running for school board?

I am running for the school board because I believe that the education of our children is among the community's most important priorities. Not only is this an important moral and civic responsibility, but there is also a direct correlation between the quality of local schools and the quality of life in the community. Over the last six years as a member of the board, I have come to appreciate the transition that is taking place in our student population and our community, as well as the complexities of education policy and finance. I believe this experience is crucial for helping the board and administration exercise sound judgment about the future direction of the district.

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