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School vote: Roosevelt tax increase? 'So be it'

Margaret McCallum, of Roosevelt, checks in with election

Margaret McCallum, of Roosevelt, checks in with election worker Shareen Best at Roosevelt Senior High School. (May 17, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Jessica Rotkiewicz

Caroline Gregory, 69, of Roosevelt, has been voting in school elections since 1961. She and her husband, Paul, 74, voted "yes" Tuesday on the proposed Roosevelt Union Free School District budget, which calls for a 4.7 percent tax increase.

The children in the district deserve to have a level playing field to compete with students in other school districts, the couple said.

“If we have to raise the property taxes to provide for our children’s future, so be it,” Caroline Gregory said.

But Anne Jones, 71, a retired banker,  said she voted  against the  budget — and that school staff and teachers should take a pay cut to save taxpayers money.

“I feel bad for the kids, but the homeowners cannot take on anymore of the responsibility,” Jones said after voting at Centennial Elementary School.

The proposed $84,384,818 budget is 0.43 percent higher than the current budget. The local tax levy would rise by 4.96 percent, and the average house assessed at $735 would pay school taxes of $4,757.55, an estimated 4.7 percent increase.

The budget calls for the layoff of 35 teachers, three administrators and five staff members.

Norma Vasquez, 43, who has lived in Roosevelt for 10 years, went to vote accompanied by her daughter, 18, a senior at Roosevelt High School.

"With the economic situation that we are living, it’s not easy to have to pay more property taxes, but there is no other way,” Vasquez said.

“Roosevelt schools need the help and the kids need to graduate.”

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