I read the article “How To Read A School Budget,” and thought it contained some good information. I read it with interest as I currently serve on the financial advisory committee for the East Williston School district.
The only comment I would take exception with is the following: “for the most part, these costs [salaries and benefits] are uncontrollable.” In my opinion, this is not accurate and highly misleading. Salaries and healthcare benefits are controllable through contractual negotiations. However, I do agree that retirement costs are outside of the school district’s control, but these costs typically represent less than 20 percent of employee salaries.
Stephan A. Leccese
I am convinced that somewhere there exists a dingy, grey room, tucked away in the bowels of a huge Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) office building, hidden from any sunlight, deprived of any fresh air, pipes incessantly dripping and smelling of mold and mildew, with the words “Dept. of Bad Ideas” carefully stenciled onto its glass door. There, the excuse-ridden agency hatches the illogical follies that are to be foisted upon sensible taxpayers and hapless commuters. Among the classics that have sprung from the brain trust located there:
Charging Long Island Railroad (LIRR) commuters $10 to refund tickets that actually cost less than the refund fee itself (incredibly, this still stands despite my petitions for common sense).
In today’s climate of ever-shrinking funding, hard decisions need to be made in order to balance the school budget. As you consider where to make cuts and what programs to eliminate, please consider the following information about school library programs and school librarians.
While all school libraries are important, we believe that school libraries, especially elementary school libraries, and certified school librarians to staff them, are needed now more than ever. As you know, elementary school provides the basis upon which all further education is built. A strong school library program in elementary school will result in the future success of your students as they move toward college and careers.
When I was in high school in Levittown in the 1970s, I took all the “advanced” regents courses. Every question I had in class, every curiosity I needed to address, and every manifestation of my hunger for knowledge was met with a “don’t worry, that won’t be on the regents”.
I didn’t study English, social studies, or chemistry; I studied to take the English regents, social studies regents, and chemistry regents. Whilst students in the “less advanced” programs were exploring academic subjects in whatever direction their imaginations led them, I was training to be a game show contestant filled with much data and little knowledge.
I’ll spare you the family photos of the Eiffel Tower and the parking lot where King Richard 111 was buried, but I’m just back from a family trip to France and England.
There’s nothing like going abroad to pick up a new appreciation for a great American habit of mind: we are people of the present. Americans tend to believe that we can and should remake the world anew in our own image, and that all solutions come from bringing the freshest possible thinking to today’s challenges.
As communities today struggle to recover from the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, let’s take a look at how one community on Long Island faced a financial crisis during the 1969 recession…
During the summer of 1969, the cost of living was soaring and meat was increasingly more expensive. Middle-class consuming families were choosing to buy cheaper cuts; while, many working-class families as well as senior citizens on fixed incomes were finding it impossible to afford even the cheapest cuts of meat like hamburger. Unwittingly following in the footsteps of thousands of housewives before them, two women in Levittown kicked off a consumer protest that gained national attention.
While I’m in total agreement with John Owens’ “Buttafuocoed” views about Long Island, I have some disagreements with John Collins’ reaction letter published last week (“Joey’s Legacy”).
Collins is absolutely right when he says that “[Long Island] lacks political leadership that has any sense of vision for this area. The politicians are too vested in partisan politics and patronage. They lack the intelligence, experience and commitment to develop any bold, creative solutions to Long Island’s challenges...how dysfunctional the governmental process is in both counties. It is a half-century history of one stupid decision after another.”
Homeowners who have not filed property assessment appeals in the last two years should file prior to May 1, 2013 deadline
Home prices fluctuate annually throughout Nassau County due to market conditions. In some cases, the price fluctuations may be uneven within the same area or amongst individual homes. The annual property re-assessment process, from the creation of the tentative roll to the end of the grievance process, is intended to deliver a final roll, which is as fair as possible, and free of errors. The grievance part of the process is intended to give homeowners the opportunity to point out and correct any errors in their individual assessment.
The LIRR train was packed with happy young people, all dressed up for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. One guy was wearing a kilt, and everyone else seemed to be wearing bright green.
Lorraine and I were going to see the new show Kinky Boots: honestly, we had no idea what to expect. The show was still in previews, opening for reviews on April 4. The Al Hirschfield Theater on 45th Street quickly filled and seating was completely sold out for the performance.
As part of its continuing education initiative, the Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners Association (NSWCA), which consists of 21 Long Island water districts including Hicksville Water District, recently hosted a seminar on best practices for addressing a New York State audit. Anthony Sabino, an attorney representing a number of municipal water districts that have navigated through six district audits, including three of which were local water districts, presented interesting facts and insight.
As part of his presentation, Sabino explained that elected officials are ultimately responsible for the financial health of their respective district and the compliance of their office. He also discussed proper procedures, protocols and resolutions that officials can use for not only addressing the rigors of a New York State audit but also improve their business management practices.
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