On April 1, I attended the Sayville school board's public forum on the 2014-15 school budget.
The meeting started with a litany from the board of how the state has cheated Sayville out of its fair share of funds and that the problem is revenue, not the district's spending.
Then 10 of the most successful Sayville High School seniors spoke about what a wonderful experience they've had. While these students were exceptional, this was not the appropriate forum for their accolades.
The final portion of the meeting was supposed to be an opportunity for residents to address the board. But the microphone was monopolized by about 20 to 30 more students extolling the merits of their arts and music programs. They pleaded with taxpayers to pass the budget.
The budget asks for an increase of $2 million, and of this amount, $1.65 million is for salaries and benefits. Residents were never given the chance to have their say, and instead, the school board orchestrated a dramatic presentation by students.
The school board members need to learn what is obvious to most of us business owners and residents: The contracts awarded to our teachers when money was flowing cannot be sustained now. We cannot afford the current taxes, much less increases. As a small-business owner, when I can't afford something, I do without it. Because of these oppressive tax increases every year, we are doing without a lot!
Louis P. Fenech Jr., Sayville
Editor's note: The writer owns a business in Sayville.
Pro-vaccine effort eradicating polio
India is free of polio after three years with no new cases, and polio worldwide is down 99 percent. This is great news. Thanks to polio vaccination, 5 million people who otherwise might have been paralyzed are able to walk. Never before has the world been this close to eradicating polio.
This is the motivation we need to continue our efforts to eliminate polio in the last three remaining countries: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan. But to get the last 1 percent of the poliovirus, we Americans need to step in.
Shot@Life is a national movement to educate, connect and empower Americans to champion vaccines, and we are strengthening the call to action for this global cause. In supporting global immunization initiatives, we protect our own children from disease.
Melody Butler, Lindenhurst
Editor's note: The writer is a registered nurse and a member of the United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life campaign.
Ugly poles scar Port Washington
Your editorial "Paying to bury power lines" [March 28], concerning PSEG Long Island installing 85-foot utility poles in Port Washington and 62-foot poles in East Hampton,, states that the only legitimate justification for burying lines "is aesthetics."
Well, aesthetics is exactly why so many residents oppose the poles! Overhead lines have been tolerated for years on Port Washington Boulevard, the main entrance to Port Washington. However, these gigantic new poles have crossed the line from tolerable to outrageous. As you enter Port Washington, they are lined up like sentinels of ugliness before our lovely community.
You fail to mention that this installation was made without community knowledge or any opportunity to question the need for the poles. Are there other solutions or possible locations? PSEG claims this is the best alternative, but it did not give the community an opportunity to make an independent assessment.
PSEG claims that using a path along the railroad tracks is not feasible because access for repairs is difficult. We never had a chance to contest that finding or consider its validity. This plan was initiated to suit the interests and convenience of PSEG.
Joseph Bellon, Port Washington
One nursing home that works well
In response to your coverage of nursing home oversight, sparked by the Medford Multicare Center for Living lawsuit ["Lax oversight of nursing homes," Editorial, March 21], I wish to provide some perspective.
I was a resident of the Cold Spring Hills Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation in Woodbury. This center was included in a state Department of Health list for having the most deficiencies between 2010 and 2013. This facility should not be on that list by any means.
I was admitted a year ago with no motor skills and little hope of recovery or returning home. The physical and occupational therapists, and the entire clinical and administrative staff, blessed me with their relentless optimism, inspiration, caring and compassion. Recently, I returned home to live independently again.
Irwin Reich, Hicksville