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Hicksville Congress of Teachers Secretary Mary Masterson, Hicksville Board of Education Trustee Susan Powell, Hicksville Congress of Teachers Treasurer Peggy Giuntini, Hicksville Congress of Teachers President Joan Deem, Hicksville PTA Council President Patricia Angenbroich and Hicksville Superintendent of Schools Maureen Bright.

Hundreds rallied at Ellsworth Allen Park in Farmingdale Feb. 28, sending a strong message to Governor David Paterson to keep education aid in New York State's budget.

Back in December, the governor proposed multimillion-dollar cuts when he revealed his 2009-2010 executive budget. The decision is a difficult one, he said, particularly because he was one of the strongest advocates for increased education funding while serving in the state legislature.

"The grim reality of our current fiscal situation is that all areas of state spending will have to experience reductions. But I am assured in the knowledge that, even after these actions, New York will still have one of the best-funded education systems in the nation," the governor said in announcing the executive budget late last year.

State, town and county legislators along with taxpayers, students, educators, small-business owners and labor leaders all took part in the rally, which attracted residents from all over Nassau County, including Hicksville. Over 50 concerned members of the Hicksville school community, including members of the Hicksville Congress of Teachers, also joined together to support local elected officials who are diligently working in Albany to fight for Long Island's fair share.

According to Assemblyman Rob Walker, the goal was to send a "strong message to Governor Paterson, Speaker Silver and Senator Smith that those of us on Long Island will not stand idly by while they threaten to cut our education funding after giving us an unprecedented amount of funding last year, which still leaves Long Island schools disproportionately funded."

Walker added, "Although there is certainly a need to cut government spending, it is illogical that the governor would cut school aid which will only get passed down to the taxpayers through increased property taxes. I want to thank everyone who showed up Saturday to support this cause and let them know that my colleagues and I will continue to fight for them in Albany and balance this budget without children shouldering the burden."

A similar rally took place last year, which according to Senator Carl Marcellino proved critical in helping defeat cuts to Long Island's share of state education aid proposed by then-Governor Eliot Spitzer.

"Last year, over 1,500 people from across the Island joined together to fight for our fair share and it worked," said Marcellino.


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