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Editorial: Despite Tough Times, A Top-Notch Education in Great Neck!

As our country, indeed the world, faces challenges of a disastrous economy and a shaky future, the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education and Superintendent of Schools Thomas Dolan tackled the issue of the 2010-2011 budget early on, with an iron will focusing on cutting an already lean budget, while never jeopardizing the quality of education for each and every child.

The school board and Dr. Dolan worked long and hard, with full support of administrators, staff, parents and the community at large. And while some tough cuts had to be made, there is no question that the small class size, exemplary level of education, and careful attention to individual needs has been preserved.

As for those cuts necessary to provide a budget that will present the least amount of strain to already financially strained households, before we protest anything that has been eliminated, we should first think of priorities. As valuable as after-school elementary intramurals might be, do they come before increasing class size? As hard and as sad as it is to lose some pretty special long-term teachers, is it so terrible to allow these dedicated professionals a well-deserved earlier retirement and thus allow new, young professionals to build their careers? And while tighter budgets for each school might not be so palatable, we have supreme faith that each principal will make do, and do well, with whatever they have.

Loss of interest on funds and the ever-decreasing amount of state aid force our school district into a tight corner. Mandates such as the MTA payroll tax, the ERS/TRS mandatory contribution increase, Social Security, health insurance, and unemployment insurance all force the school budget upwards, forcing the school district to keep searching for decreases, decreases that will not hurt our children nor compromise their education.

With possibly the leanest, most comprehensive budget around, with one of the smallest tax increases this year, and with a truly top-notch education still in place, the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education and superintendent of schools have really and truly accomplished the impossible —- a lean budget with a small increase and the best education found anywhere.

And don’t forget, this marvelous school district that provides so much to so many also allows us all to maintain our property values through the status of our wonderful schools.

So when Tuesday, May 18 pops up on your calendar, please go and vote “yes” for our school budget. Vote “yes” for our children, for our future.

- Wendy Karpel Kreitzman