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Letters: Aftermath of school budget votes

Bellport residents vote during the school board elections

Bellport residents vote during the school board elections at Bellport Middle School in Bellport. (May 15, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

I am writing to address my concerns for the 2013-2014 school year with regard to the Sachem Central School District. Our budget has failed with a 54 percent majority vote, due to the tax cap restrictions and failure of the state to fund the district as promised ["School tax cap is a bright line," Editorial, May 23].

Unfortunately, our kindergarten program is going to suffer the most, being reduced to a half day. With all of the new state testing and demands on our teachers and children, this will be a serious detriment to the 5-year-olds in the population and give them a disadvantage at the very start of their educational careers. We need to be their voice and get them their full day back.

My daughter is 5 years old. She has attended two years of preschool. She needs more. She is so excited to ride the bus with her cousin next year. How are we going to tell her that isn't going to happen? My heart is broken.

We are currently waiting to hear what the plans are for the kindergartners, and we are still hoping that Albany can back our district and give us the needed funds our children deserve.

Jennifer Lessuk, Holtsville

Most of the school budgets passed, and our school taxes rise year after year, because it's the people who have kids in school who come out to vote. The seniors and homeowners who don't have kids in school will complain that they are on a fixed income. Once they receive their tax increases, they will realize they missed their chance to vote.

Just look at the total votes in each school district, and you see how sad the turnout is every year!

John DiMarco, Glen Head

My wife has been a special education aide in the Lindenhurst school district since 2004. She has loved her job from the beginning. She has regularly been complemented and commended for her job performance. She has enjoyed going to work each day helping children with special needs.

Now, along with 65 other aides, she will be laid off. Her position is being eliminated at the end of this school year. She has been a dues-paying member of the Civil Service Employees Association throughout her employ. I find it strange and disappointing that there had been little support from her union through this.

What's the point of belonging if the CSEA is invisible at this difficult time? The manner in which this layoff was done, after her years of dedicated service, was cruel at best.

I understand that times are difficult for our schools. However, what about the 66 families who will be affected by these layoffs? What about the children who need the help provided by the aides in the schools?

I'm sure the other 65 families feel the same as we do.

Pete Blumenthal, Lindenhurst

So your letter writer is glad the Baldwin school budget failed, because she is afraid high taxes will make it hard to sell her house ["Relieved at failure of school budget," May 30].

Why do you think houses in Syosset, and similar communities, sell for so much more than equivalent houses in Baldwin? It's not because the taxes are lower; they're not. It's because people don't just buy houses, they buy into school districts.

By casting a vote that will decimate or eliminate kindergarten, slash clubs and other extracurricular activities, and raise class sizes to levels unheard-of in surrounding districts, the letter writer has done more to lower the value of her home than a few hundred extra dollars a year in taxes would have done.

Judy Ornstein, Baldwin


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