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Letter: Cutting school aides saves little

Classrooms across Long Island were empty on Thursday.

Classrooms across Long Island were empty on Thursday. Check our listings of delayed openings, closures and cancellations to see what's in store for Friday. Credit: Daniel Brennan

I became a school aide in Lindenhurst more than a decade ago to have the same schedule as my children ["Proposed school tax hike trimmed," News, April 19]. I was hired at a whopping $5 an hour! Back then, the state was giving out an abundance of cash to special education programs. The school district, in turn, began classifying many students as special ed.

Support was needed to run these programs. The school didn't have the money to hire teaching assistants, so instead, it hired aides. A lot of the aides are the mothers of special ed children themselves and are underappreciated and way underpaid. These aides work closely with the teachers and special ed teachers all day to provide the best one-on-one attention these students need to succeed.

Flash forward to the present: The state has drastically reduced funding for the school district's special ed programs. Therefore, children previously classified are now suddenly being declassified, or not classified, because it costs the district too much.

Budget time brings out the worst in the school administrators. Now the district is angering the taxpayers of Lindenhurst by making it look like eliminating the aides will help our school budget. Aides make a little over minimum wage and no pension.

Administrators are misleading the public and the parents of these special ed children. The new program will have a special ed teacher in the classroom for only two hours a day and another specialist for two hours. It's really sad because in the end, it's the children who will suffer.

Remember, all of these aides are also Lindenhurst residents, and we will not forget the shabby treatment.

Carol Collins, Lindenhurst