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Teacher payouts can be too generous

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The opportunity to accrue radical amounts of pay for unused sick days, as public school teachers do in Central Islip, is incredible [“Sick-pay deals are not healthy,” Editorial, Nov. 25]. As your editorial explained, in general, a Central Islip teacher can cash out up to 180 unused days, and can get paid out for up to five a year once they accrue 350.

Generous deals like that are unfair to state taxpayers and to teachers in other districts that don’t have such lucrative contracts. Newsday reported that for 2019-20, Central Islip’s budget was $216,560,271, and its state aid was $110,327,551. I believe that if a district receives the bulk of its budget from the state, as this one does, the governor, on behalf of the state, should have a say in negotiating contracts to try to force local boards of education to tighten spending and avoid giving away our hard-earned tax dollars.

John Tuthill,

  Orient

Editor’s note: The writer’s wife is a public school teacher in an East End district.

Any tenured teacher willing to devote herself to gaming the system in many Long Island districts can become a pensioner who would collect many millions of dollars in a long retirement [“Top 10 K-12 earners in state on LI,” News, Nov. 12].

The tools are there awaiting ambitious educators. It helps if a district passes a big-money bond to guarantee that spending is maintained over time, and if contracts allow pay hikes for in-service teacher peer instruction, as well as generous accumulation of unused sick days and multiple coaching stipends. Imagine if all that energy were 100% dedicated to the calling of teaching.

Andrea Vecchio,

  East Islip

Editors note: The writer is head of the East Islip TaxPac, a watchdog group with 100 contributing members.

Thoughts about Thanksgiving

It was wonderful to read writer Mike Vogel’s “Get a large helping of stuffing on Thanksgiving” [Opinion, Nov. 23]. He calls Thanksgiving a time to gather with family and friends, to be grateful for what we have in our country, to be united rather than divisive! Amen.

Does this not describe what the majority of us would desire every day?

Instead of using Thanksgiving as a holiday, let us use it as an example of how we should behave every day. Division does not work! It creates more separation along party lines. It adds to the turmoil we see throughout the country. Come on patriots! United we stand! Divided we fall!

Gail Berkes Starkie,

  Southold

Telecasts of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are now a disappointment to me. There is too much time spent on segments from Broadway musicals. I would like to see traditional marchers, floats and balloons. Please go back to being a parade!

Carol A. Treptow,

  East Patchogue

Almost everyone I know loves the four-day Thanksgiving weekend. One reason is the certainty that Thanksgiving will fall on the fourth Thursday of November. This enables people to make plans.

With this in mind, I suggest rethinking the July Fourth holiday, which can fall on any day of the week. Instead, use the Thanksgiving model and instead celebrate “Independence Day” on the first Thursday of July to provide certainty for planning a four-day weekend.

I bet Americans would overwhelmingly favor this idea.

In addition, I suggest aligning the Super Bowl with the Presidents Day weekend to clear up another glaring imperfection in the calendar.

Eugene R. Dunn,

    Medford

Editor's note: This letter has been corrected to state the proper placement of Thanksgiving each November. It was incorrect because of an editor's error.

Many on LI don’t want more population

Scholar Michael Lewyn’s Nov. 21 opinion piece, “Zoning rules strangling the Island,” contains many statements that can be easily challenged. Also, it appears that the writer doesn’t understand the mentality of many Long Islanders.

The author compares the number of housing units on Long Island with those in Palm Beach County, Florida. That is a faulty comparison because there are many differences between the areas, including climate, taxes, cost of living, etc.

The author also advocates changes in local zoning codes, but those changes are highly unlikely. Most Long Islanders do not want a more dense population because that would lead to more crowded roads, schools, malls, parks, beaches, etc., and zoning boards are sensitive to the needs of the people.

Long Islanders generally don’t want more apartments because they fear Long Island could one day resemble Brooklyn or Queens, and who wants that? Allowing more houses per acre isn’t likely to happen either because that would increase population density. Ditto for eliminating front-yard requirements.

Many Long Islanders cherish open spaces and don’t want anything that would crimp their lifestyle. Many will do all they can to prevent urbanization from taking hold.

Herbert Kraut,

  Woodmere

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