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Letters: Student numbers, budget decisions

Donna Villez teaches her second grade class about

Donna Villez teaches her second grade class about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln at the Oquenock Elementary School in West Islip. (March 1, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

How does "Enrollment shrinks across LI" [News, March 10] translate into added financial struggles?

We all understand the reasons, mostly demographic, for the shrinking school enrollment. Maybe the article should have more appropriately pointed out the tough choices school districts are refusing to make. After all, doesn't declining enrollment mean a demand for fewer teachers, less infrastructure, less everything? Doesn't decreased demand mean commensurate cuts? Don't cuts mean less spending?

In reality, isn't this about stubbornly trying to keep the status quo on spending, personnel costs, etc., in light of declining enrollment? Isn't this really about refusing to make tough choices such as district consolidations or more layoffs? I don't like to see any of this happen, but this is reality.

John A. Cortopassi, Nesconset

Editor's note: The writer is an accountant.

Newsday writes, "Falling enrollment is an added complication for districts struggling with rising personnel costs, higher pension payments," etc. But on a subsequent page, Newsday says that in Westbury, the student population has risen 3 to 4 percent over the last five years and, "That's not all positive: The jump is straining school finances."

Well, which is it? If school enrollment goes down, and then federal and state aid is decreased as well, yes, there are added complications. But then you would also have fewer students to educate.

Don Hagan, Wantagh

Why don't we have just one superintendent of schools for Suffolk County and one for Nassau County? It works in New York City. The dollars saved could go toward our children's education.

Rhoda Newman, North Babylon