Nassau County is very similar to other places around the country when election time comes around. You have candidates and incumbents willing to say anything to stay in office or get back in office. This time around we have two former incumbents in Suozzi and Weitzman who for over three years did not say a word about the county’s finances, struggles, or achievements. Yet all of a sudden they come out and say that everything is horrible. They say things like “cooking the books” and “the County borrowed $2 billion and your children will pay the price.” All these statements are meant to grab your attention and make you question your quality of life. As residents of this wonderful place we call home we need to remember where we were about a year ago. Hurricane Sandy struck Long Island, we had no gas, no electricity, and a sense of hopelessness. While some families are still hurting many of us are back on our feet going to work and living our normal lives. Mainly thanks to the response and leadership of our current government. It’s tough to shift through all the stats and all the numbers that are thrown at us during election time but there is one thing that we know is true. The current administration is doing everything they can not to make it more expensive to live here even during a disaster. The former administration, that is trying to make a comeback, has a track record of making it more expensive to live here. The choice is clear for me and my family. We love it here but we already pay enough.
Smaller, financially strapped school districts that can offer greater educational opportunities by joining together are the best candidates for mergers, according to a new research report by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).
The report found that losses in state aid and the local property tax cap have forced some districts to eliminate teaching and support staff positions, affecting their ability to provide elective courses and, in some cases, core courses as well.
By merging, these districts might be better able to offer a wider variety of educational programs and courses than they would otherwise.
In February, we discussed the benefits of an Advanced Regents Diploma for high school students. In truth, the Advanced track is more challenging than the regular Regents Diploma since it has a more academically oriented sequence.
However, the benefits of the extra math and science classes have a tremendous impact in the college admissions process. In fact, I implore parents to keep their children in the Advanced Regents diploma sequence.
Unfortunately, prior to the opening of school, we get many parents who want to change their child’s schedule. Clearly, the typical high school student would rather avoid the rigorous concepts taught in Trigonometry and Chemistry, but competitive colleges want to see these courses on student transcripts. To illustrate this point, we annually compare the college acceptances for Advanced Regents against Regents diplomas.
I know this is lengthy, but I ask that you read this and truly feel what I’m trying to express by putting yourself in my shoes for a few moments. I volunteer at Last Hope Animal Rescue and what I observe will sicken you and hopefully tug your heart strings.
I have been volunteering for the past year and I can’t even begin to tell you how much these dogs has gone through. Almost all the dogs that we rescue come from puppy mills in Kentucky and West Virginia. We try to rescue as many dogs as we can each week from these terrible places. Most people don’t know what happens in puppy mills and that is what I am trying to expose to everyone. Puppy mills are dog breeding facilities that operate on breeding their animals in unsanitary conditions. The main goal of puppy mills is to produce as many puppies as they can and keep the cost at a minimum. Puppy mills is a business that is growing and spreading very rapidly. A very large percent of pet store puppies come from these mills. Puppy mills normally sell to puppy brokers who distribute the puppies to the pet shops. Besides the selling of these dogs to pet stores, puppy mills face many other problems.
Really enjoyed John Owens’s article “They’re Drowning Our Kids In Snake Oil” (Sept. 18-24).
I work in education. John Owens’ article “They’re Drowning Our Kids In Snake Oil” (Sept. 18-24) was very interesting, as are so many that are being written now. Obviously, members of the New York State Board of Regents are reading none of them.
The district continues to cultivate a strong partnership between our parents and teachers. We realize communication is an important component of this relationship. This school year, 2013-14, we opened the “Parent Portal” feature of our student management system for our secondary school parents. Specifically, the parent portal will allow parents to access their child’s attendance, grades, and quarterly reports. In fact, we hope to place our progress reports and report cards on the parent portal in the near future. This confidential link will provide parents timely information about their child’s progress in school. Although information was sent home to all families, please let the school know if there is any trouble logging onto the “Parent Portal”.
Editor’s note: This is a response to Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos’s “County Financial Report Card,” published in The New Hyde Park Illustrated News, Sept. 11-17 edition. Howard Weitzman is running on the Democratic line against Maragos in the November election.
George Maragos continues to mislead the public by falsely claiming that the county’s financial condition has improved on his watch. During Mr. Maragos’s tenure as Nassau County’s fiscal watchdog, the county has undergone three bond downgrades by the credit rating agencies, the county’s fiscal outlook has been lowered from “stable” to “negative,” and the county’s debt has reached a new all-time high. No amount of “cooking the books” and issuing misleading financial statements and press releases can hide this truth, a truth which can be easily verified by outside sources.
On March 25, 2013, Ray Lang, died suddenly at the age of 48. He left a widow and 3 children, but because of a lifelong illness he died without life insurance. In addition to dealing with the emotional loss, the family also faces serious financial challenges, including the fact that 2 of the 3 children will attend college in the fall. Ray was a longtime coach in both Hicksville and Levittown. Casey, the youngest child, played sports for Holy Family CYO for many years and this year coached one of our volleyball teams.
The mid-year financial projections for 2013 indicate that the County will end the year with a $5.6 million budgetary surplus. This follows on the heels of 2012’s surplus of $41.5 million, now confirmed by independent auditors. These budget surpluses are due to increased sales tax revenues from the improving economy (up 10.4 percent year to date) and reduced Social Service costs due to lower unemployment (down to 6 percent, one of the lowest rates in New York State and lower than that of Suffolk County and New York City.)
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