The start of another school year is almost upon us, and with it an annual property tax bill. Historically these bills keep going up, but this year new tax incentives in the state budget could reduce those increases. School districts able to reduce costs through shared services, consolidation and other operational efficiencies would be eligible for tax incentives and could pass the savings on to taxpayers.
One way to increase efficiency and reduce costs is for districts that provide their own transportation to look at using a private school-bus contractor. Not only do contractors provide transportation to more than half of all students riding a yellow school bus in the state, they help save taxpayers more than $200 million each year. I estimate that another $100 million in savings is available statewide.
The Manhasset school district, for example, saved more than $1 million a year after partnering with school bus contractor Huntington Coach.
Robert C. Pape, Hicksville
Editor's note: The writer is the president of the New York School Bus Contractors Association.
What we learn from border kids
I am dismayed at the response of the Commack community to a church's desire to help refugee children ["Outrage over kids plan," News, Aug. 20].
Concern about property values and references to disease and crime seem a bit extreme. The MercyFirst organization in Syosset has not had a problem with kids leaving the site, and the kids would only be here temporarily.
The reaction in Commack is based in unfounded fear and seeming prejudice. None of the immigrants I know came here wanting to break the law; they came to work hard and make a better life. In fact, it would be a very eye-opening and enriching experience for our own kids to have an opportunity to speak to the young people coming here. It might help them better appreciate what they have.
Elisabeth Fiteni, Oyster Bay
Garner and Brown were in harm's way
The deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown are tragic. However, they could have been avoided if these men did not act in a way that attracted police attention ["Mayor hails a peaceful march," News, Aug. 25].
It's plain and simple: When the police get involved, there is a possibility that something could happen that might not be the desired outcome. Police officers are human beings charged with making decisions that a lot of us would not like to have to make.
I'm sure the officers involved didn't start their shifts intending to kill someone.
Arthur Wakefield, Northport