It was the summer of 1963. Most Americans had never even heard of the mounting troubles in Vietnam. New York’s newest baseball team, the New York Mets, were wrapping another 100-loss season at the Polo Grounds and looking forward to opening their new stadium in Flushing, Queens. In August 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech” in Washington, DC and President Barack Obama had celebrated his second birthday.
I want to express my sincerest thanks to all who turned out in the pouring rain and were able to cast a vote for me on May 17th. I am humbled by the trust you put in me with your vote. I am so sorry that we came up short for now. I want to express my deepest concern and sympathy to all who approached me on May 17th and told me that you were unable to cast a vote for me due to problems with the levers in the voting booths. These problems should have been addressed immediately on the day of the vote. Unfortunately, they were not.
Recently, the Island Trees School District completed all of the New York State mandated assessments in English Language Arts and Math. This testing period takes up a considerable amount of time for students, and even more for our staff. In fact, our teachers pulled from their classroom assignments and often spend many extra hours after school scoring these state required assessments during this two-week period of time.
My name is John Fontana and I was an anti-tax candidate running for the Island Trees School Board. I was amazed at how fast you become public enemy number one when you talk about reducing taxes.
The teachers union hates you; when you talk about concessions, the P.T.A. looks at you like you’re diseased. They form a quiet coalition, and then bombard you a week before the election.
The Island Trees Board of Education wishes to thank all of the residents who came out and voted on Tuesday, May 17 in support of the 2011-12 school budget. In addition, we are enormously grateful to everyone who advocated on our behalf of our school district. The strong support of our community means we will be able to sustain and maintain all our programs, services and activities which make Island Trees a very special place for our children.
New York State’s buying power is equivalent to a Fortune 100 company. That’s according to Howard Glaser, the director of state operations who has been charged by Governor Cuomo with eliminating gross inefficiencies in our state government. His recent audit included findings showing Albany owning more than a million square feet of office space that sits vacant, nearly 2,000 vendors providing expensive duplicate office supplies and services, and over 400 toll-free numbers that have not been called in months, all at taxpayer expense. Our tax dollars should not go to fund agencies that are so bloated they cannot keep records of what they own or the products they purchase.
Several weeks ago, the New York Daily News discovered that a number of New York City schools had failed to recite the Pledge of Allegiance as a part of their typical school day. In fact, the Daily News surveyed 10 city schools and found half of them skipped the pledge despite New York State law requiring the daily flag salute. Clearly, if the Daily News researched this further, they would have found many more schools failing to recite this time honored oath. The Daily News was tipped off by a parent after their 8-year-old daughter was unable to recognize a group of children reciting the pledge while watching a television program. Unimaginable. I was shocked to hear that a public school would skip one of the most important civics lessons you could give during a school day. Of course, I’m aware that the United States Supreme Court allows individuals to opt out, but for an entire school to go years without reciting the pledge - seems more than un-American.
You all may have noticed that there are a handful of candidates running for the Board of Education this year. There are many of them that are making a lot of promises, like a zero percent tax levy and raises all around for teachers. As you and I both know, being taxpayers on Long Island, these promises are not a reality! The economy is not doing well and because of that our taxes are most likely going to be increased as they are every year. The current board members are all Island Trees residents and their taxes get raised too. They are trying their best to do right by residents and the children in the Island Trees School District.
Our district is very fortunate to have Pat Mahon and Ken Rochon on the Island Trees School Board as they have done an excellent job in the past six years. Pat and Ken are looking to broaden the scope of shared services with surrounding districts in order to save the taxpayers money.
Happy Mother’s Day! I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of our mothers a wonderful and blessed Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was always a special day growing up and even more so today with my own family and wife. The job on being a mother never ends. In fact, I sit back in awe of my wife and the manner in which she takes care of our daughter. She is without a doubt the key to our little one’s growth, happiness, and success. Clearly, there should be multiple Mother’s Days before we even start speaking about Father’s Day.
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