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Lawrence vote becomes bitter struggle between camps

The Lawrence district has a distinctly sectarian flavor: It enrolls 3,380 students, but another 3,900 local students attend private religious schools -- primarily yeshivas. In recent years, tensions have flared as the private school families seek more services from the district for their children.

Parents of public school students said they were skeptical that the board, with a new majority they perceived as more sensitive to the needs of local religious schools, would work toward improving the public district.

Luis Huerta, an expert in school finance and school choice at Columbia University, said that public school parents often forget that state law entitles all students to get certain services -- such as transportation, textbooks and special education therapy -- from the district, even if they attend private school.


"The fact that these parents have organized to make sure that local and state resources are going to be used to do that is their prerogative and right as citizens," Huerta said of board members whose children are in private schools.


This article appeared in the May 12, 2007 edition of the,0,4466983.story?page=2

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