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Letter From Hicksville Congress of Teachers

New York’s troubled economy, and the recently passed state budget that resulted from it, means fewer resources for our schools. Here in Hicksville we are facing a $1.4 million net reduction (10.3 percent) in State Aid, which is the fifth highest in Nassau County.

Against this backdrop, our school board has worked hard to craft a sound, fiscally responsible school budget that carefully balances the needs of our students with the very real concerns of taxpayers. This year’s budget-to-budget increase of 2.63 percent and the careful application of reserves to offset this amount bring the levy-to-levy increase down to 3.25 percent. It is estimated that the average homeowner in Hicksville will see an increase in his/her property taxes that will equate to approximately $128 next year. Is any tax increase ideal? Certainly not. However, the district’s multi-year plan presents to the concerned taxpayers, a future in Hicksville that puts students’ needs first and recognizes that excellent public schools are integral to a vital and vibrant community.

I don’t believe that Hicksville’s children and hard-working school community should suffer as a result of decisions by lawmakers in Albany. Our children deserve the best. A defeated school budget would, however, lead to dramatic staffing and program cuts. The elimination of extra-curricular activities including interscholastic sports, a reduction in staffing resulting in the elimination of electives, AP classes, courses in the arts and an increase in class size, are all likely to occur under a Contingency Budget.

As someone who shares a common interest with you in maintaining our staff, our programs and the excellent reputation of the Hicksville Public Schools, I am asking you to vote “YES” on May 17. Our children deserve your support. Voting “YES” for the school budget is the best way to show it.

Joan Deem, President

Hicksville Congress of Teachers