Letters: Copiague schools making tough choices

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A recent report from the state comptroller highlighted financial problems of various districts ["Schools' fiscal distress," News, Jan. 17]. Copiague was given a rating of "moderate fiscal stress."

Copiague is a low wealth-high need district. The school board made deliberate decisions to preserve student programs and keep tax-rate increases as low as possible during these tough economic times. To preserve programs, a variety of aggressive measures were implemented beginning in 2008 to contain and slow the growth of costs.

However, state aid to Copiague has been reduced to less than we received in 2008. On the expenditure side, we are dealing with many costs beyond the district's control, such as pension costs and health insurance premium increases.

The result is that, beginning three years ago, we decided to spend down our reserve funds to balance the budget. This was a major contributing factor to the stress rating.

With a number of school districts in a similar position, it's incumbent upon the governor and state legislators to restore state aid and finally address the many costly unfunded mandates that schools are required to carry out.

Mike Greb, Amity Harbor

Editor's note: The writer is president of the Copiague school board.

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Newsday reported that my district of Copiague is under stress.

Stress is paying $9,000 in school taxes and another $6,000 in private school tuition each year because I won't send my children to a school with such a poor performance rating.

We tried it the teachers union way, and it's not working. Time to start to thinking outside of the box.

Frank Duci, Copiague

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