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Letter: A half-step toward school mergers

I was impressed by the statements made by high school students about district consolidation in your "Notebook" section ["Students examine both sides of LI's school merger debate," LI Life, Jan. 4].

Every student presented well-thought remedies, but I would like to make these suggestions to help them reach their goals: Take five school districts next to each other. Keep the existing school boards, and create a board of administration that would oversee all matters except curriculum.

Each school district would have a representative on the board of administration to coordinate planning and help consolidate purchasing, oversee hiring, coordinate with union representatives and handle all matters not applicable to our children's classroom experience.

This would allow the elimination of some administration and clerical duties in each district. With this approach, districts would remain independent and still have local boards addressing students needs.

I served from 1984 to 1992 as a Uniondale school board member, and I found myself spending most of my effort on administrative matters. I would have been happier discussing the students.

Patrick M. Demery, Deer Park

'Into the Woods' isn't all it seems

Newsday's Rafer Guzman's review of "Into the Woods" [exploreLI, Dec. 24] hit the nail on the head. I think portions of this movie border on pedophilia and other unsavory sexual content. I was left with a very disquieted feeling. Shame on Disney for this one.

June Miodownik, West Hempstead

Anticipating open Cuban relations

I applaud President Barack Obama on his historic move to open up diplomatic relations with Cuba ["A Washington lame duck that roared," Opinion, Dec. 22].

Opening up the Cuban market will not only help the U.S. economy, but also will make a better life for the people of Cuba.

Martin Blumberg, Melville

Praise for pope left out abortion views

Newsday's Jan. 1 editorial, "Our wishes for the new year," says, "May Pope Francis continue to spread his message of humility, forgiveness, tolerance and concern for the poor, and may we listen."

You didn't mention his anti-abortion views.

Frank Venis, East Rockaway

More corruption heading our way?

Thank you, Newsday, for your continuing expose of the cronyism and lack of transparency within the judicial system ["The Insiders," News, Dec. 23].

Eliminating this form of corruption will have little effect as long as cross-endorsement collusion continues among the political parties. Voters have no real choice.

Along the same lines, both Nassau and Suffolk counties have chosen sites for video-lottery-terminal casinos. Please be just as vigilant in following these endeavors. OTB has a dismal record as a piggy bank for political patronage at the expense of taxpayers and the betting public.

Ed Goldstein, Baiting Hollow

Brookhaven must site solar right

There's no question we must move toward alternative energy sources, including solar ["Town eyes Suffolk's solar-panel policies," News, Jan. 6]. The issue is where these plants should be sited.

My organization believes we must not trade one "green" for another "green." We believe that changes to our building codes must be made that mandate energy efficiencies on every project, including big-box stores, shopping and commercial centers, large and small industrial factories and residential subdivisions. Rooftop orientation should be set for maximum advantage and use of the sun's energy.

These sites must be required to generate a significant portion of their own energy from solar, geothermal or wind.

The Long Island Power Authority has approved several solar-panel sites. We must move now, or we risk developing massive solar generation facilities in all the wrong locations, causing us to lose our farms and open space.

MaryAnn Johnston, Stony Brook

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Affiliated Brookhaven Civic Organizations.