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Long IslandTowns

Poll: Hire teachers or pay off debt?

Long Island's school districts are saddled with $3.7 billion in long-term debt, the price of years of borrowing for construction and improvements including solar panels, upgraded ventilation systems, science labs, refurbished auditoriums and updated athletic fields.

While the state picks up part of the tab -- in some cases, the majority of it -- property owners also are on the hook for this fixed cost, which is plugged into district budgets already straining under dramatic cuts in state aid and the expense of government mandates.

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