Newsday's articles and editorials about school district matters on Long Island are almost always excellent. However, I found "Tax capped and tapped out" [Editorial, Sept. 28] surprisingly off the mark.
It's true that because as much as 70 percent of school budgets pay for generous salaries, generous annual increases and very generous fringe benefits, school districts find it difficult to stay within the 2 percent tax-levy cap law. However, my district, like many others, has found a way to circumvent the cap. It's called a bond issue.
Now under discussion at Port Washington school board meetings I've attended this fall is a bond issue of $65 million to $70 million, to pay for districtwide upgrades and enhancements -- in other words, a wish list of projects. I predict that this new bond issue will be approved without problem; school budgets have been approved by at least 70 percent of voters each year.
Under state law, a school district can issue bonds as often as it wants to and in any amount, as long as it can get at least half of the voters to approve. And that is why school districts on Long Island are not "tapped out," as your editorial suggests.
What's more, the new bond issue is going to be proposed for a vote in February, not May. My school officials apparently believe that some possible "no" voters will be wintering in Florida, or won't venture out of their homes on an inclement winter day.
Joel Katz, Port Washington
Underestimating English learners
I found the Opinion piece "Some students being set up to fail" [Sept. 29] to be insulting and arrogant.
New York State Regent Roger Tilles' involvement in education since 1970s should have produced superior results. Instead, he implies that the current population of students and teachers is not as competent as it should be and needs more time to master English?
Really, those who have come to America from other places are smarter than ever. That's why they have chosen to come to America. Do not reduce them to less.
Carole Celiberti Lucca, Huntington
U.S. must wipe out Islamic State
It took a series of vicious beheadings and a weak Iraqi army to bring together the United States, Iran and Syrian President Bashar Assad ["Syria 'OK' with U.S. strikes," News, Sept. 30]. Who would have thought that would happen?
Yes, the boots of the U.S.-led coalition will stamp out the Islamic State cockroaches, if the American public supports "boots on the ground" in Syria and Iraq. I'm guessing that after several months of pinpoint air attacks, especially if we can knock out some of the bigger targets, coalition ground forces led by Iran, Jordan, the Saudis, a resurgent Iraq and anti-Assad rebels -- supported and trained by the United States -- will eradicate the Islamic State.
Will this take 10 years as some have predicted? No way. How about 10 months?
Steve Haar, Bayville
I don't understand all the discussion of the Islamic State threat. In the Gulf War, we went in wholeheartedly against a supposedly qualified force for "the mother of all battles," in the words of Saddam Hussein. Casualties were remarkably low.
If we went in against the Islamic State with this same spirit, in overwhelming numbers, and with armor and air power, should the results be any different?
Let's take our rightful place in the world. When disasters hit, who does the world come to for help? Let's take confident control of this situation and get on the road to healing!
If today's leaders were in charge during World War II, we'd now be speaking German or Japanese.
Frank Grunseich, Deer Park
LIPA trustee ought to back solar
Thank you for "Opponents of solar farm offer thin arguments" [Editorial, Sept. 24]. On the heels of 310,000 citizens from all over this country gathering in New York City to demand just the kind of action that the proposed solar farm in Shoreham embodies, it is appalling that a Long Island Power Authority trustee, Marc Alessi, would oppose it.
Claiming it was a surprise that was plotted in secret, Alessi either pays no attention to his responsibility as trustee, or he believes we are stupid. In either case, it's obvious that he should step down or be removed from that position.
The public is sick of public officials who put their own or their benefactors' agendas ahead of the public good.
Don Matheson, East Hampton
Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Long Island chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby.
Jeter taught perseverance
In addition to the accolades he received as an outstanding shortstop, Derek Jeter is to be admired for the example he gave young athletes ["The old pro finally lets down his guard," Opinion, Sept. 28].
He taught them to persevere after losses and to cheer victories, always exhibiting humility.
Terry Hall, Bethpage