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Letters: Do we need more school funding?

Dr. John B. King, Jr., State education commissioner,

Dr. John B. King, Jr., State education commissioner, speaks at an event at Hofstra University. (Feb. 2, 2012) Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Last week, a panel representing public schools asked pointed questions of State Education Commissioner John King ["Questions for state education chief," News, Sept. 21]. Given the property tax cap, state and federal mandates, and the numerous tests imposed on our students, how are we to take our very limited resources and continue to provide the best possible education for our children?

Our children need to be prepared to enter the world after high school, no matter where their path may take them. Vocational training, music and art programs, kindergarten and advanced placement classes are not extras. They are integral to the education of many students. Yet these are often the very programs cut when money is tight.

Smaller classes are not a luxury; they help ensure that teachers have the time and resources to help students succeed. But class sizes have been increasing in many districts.

We cannot sit idly by while our children's education is decimated. Now is the time to contact state and federal legislators and attend school board meetings.

We need to stay focused on our future: our children. We are testing many new ideas all at once, and children are caught in a storm of needs competing for very limited resources.

Eleanora Ferrante, South Huntington

Editor's note: The writer is the co-chair of the South Huntington PTA legislative committee.

Schoolteachers recently rallied for expanded school funding in Hauppauge ["Fighting for funding," News, Sept. 21]. They complained about how difficult it is for new teachers to find jobs and about reduced staffing and student services.

Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it too. All of these years before the property tax cap, teachers were more than happy to allow their powerful union to negotiate salaries and benefits for them that any reasonable person would view as excessive, and which the taxpayers simply cannot afford.

Faced with the truth -- that there has to be a limit to the appetite for salary and benefit increases -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo managed to secure the tax cap.

These teachers need a course in common sense, starting with the lesson that they shouldn't earn more than we can afford to pay.

Frank J. Bryant, East Islip