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Letter: Support the 2010-2011 Spending Plan

Teachers and parents – in fact, everyone in this community – should share a common goal: the best education possible for children.

Our school board has carefully crafted a budget with that goal in mind, while staying fiscally responsible. The proposed budget continues to provide this community’s children with strong academic programs and a wide range of extracurricular activities, while spending tax dollars prudently on only those programs that are absolutely necessary.

The school budget deserves your support.

In asking for your “yes” vote, I want to remind you that good schools help our children get into the best colleges, land good jobs and lead brighter futures. In addition, schools which are well-funded and which enjoy excellent reputations help to attract business and boost property values.

Some have raised concerns about rising property taxes. Teachers are taxpayers, too, and certainly we share that concern. But, the vast majority of teachers understand that the cost of running our schools is going up and state aid has not kept pace. In fact the average proposed cut to aid in New York State is 6.7 percent and the proposed aid cut on Long Island is 7.2 percent. The state aid cut for Hicksville is above both the Long Island and New York State average at 10.8 percent. We see education as an investment, not an expense. We hope you see it that way, too.

I don’t believe Hicksville’s children and its excellent public schools should suffer as a result of decisions in Albany. Our children deserve the best! A defeated budget, however, would lead to dramatic program cuts. Interscholastic sports, extracurricular clubs, music, drama, late bus runs, AP and enrichment programs, and extra help for students who are struggling could all be curtailed or eliminated entirely. A defeated budget could potentially increase class size. I don’t want that to happen.

As someone who shares a common interest with you in maintaining the excellent reputation of our schools, I’m asking you to join me by voting “yes” on May 18.

And, please, help me to spread the word! On Tuesday, it’s vital that voters remember the value of a vibrant public education system to our own children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews, neighbors and friends. Pulling the “yes” lever for the school budget is the best way to show it.

Joan Deem

President

Hicksville Congress of Teachers