(Editor’s note: The opportunity to submit a regular ‘From the Desk’ column in the Levittown Tribune was offered to both districts’ superintendents.)
Since I no longer have children in the school district, it’s hard to keep up with issues I once had instant access to. On a fairly immediate basis, I no longer hear how the school is doing in any of its sports programs, any of its educational challenges, any of its personnel changes, any of its adult programs or generally how things are going in the halls. In subscribing to the Levittown Tribune I have noticed that Island Trees has a column wherein the superintendent addresses problems, initiatives, successes, etc. that his constituency may want to hear about - but not so with the Levittown district. Yes, I actually do read a newspaper (not Newsday), go online, check the district’s website, etc. but I’d like to have more information available in closer-to-real time than that currently allowed by a monthly newsletter. Is there any possibility, Dr. Sirois, that our school district will employ this fairly easy way of keeping me in the loop?
Mary Ellen Orchard
We are writing to inform you that the Nassau County Legislature is planning to eliminate the “County Guarantee.” This would result in shifting the cost of reimbursing any overpayment of taxes to the individual school districts.
As a result of this action, homeowners will need to pay higher taxes.
Presently, the Nassau County Assessor is charged with the responsibility of assessing all property within the County. School districts use this assessment roll in the estimation of their revenues and in the preparation of their budgets. However, school districts do not and should not participate in this assessment process. Where such assessments have been declared erroneous, it has always been the responsibility of Nassau County, as the sole assessing entity, to pay all property tax refunds.
Sometimes the simplest things we do have the greatest impact…a thank you with a smile …holding the door for someone…a compliment. All of these have a tremendous impact, more than we probably even realize, and are simple ways to improve the lives around us. Parents often ask me, “What can I do to improve my child’s school success?” Simple, “Read.” Reading to children is the single most important factor to school success. Such a simple concept, and yet it has an extraordinary impact on academic success.
On behalf of the South Farmingdale Water District and Board of Commissioners, I have very exciting news to report; news that will give confidence and comfort to all residents in the South Farmingdale Water District.
After five years of negotiations, The District finally received a settlement fund in the amount of $14.55 million from the United States Navy, Department of Defense. These funds will cover the construction, maintenance and operating costs of our new water treatment system to protect our water supply from an impending plume of contaminates. The treatment system is being built at Plant 1 on Langdon Road in Farmingdale.
This payment comes after a long, complex struggle, first with the Department of Defense, then with the Department of Justice to disburse these funds.
Is your child unmotivated…struggling academically…not sleeping…feeling depressed….acting out? If your child is experiencing difficulties at home, please do not wait for parent-teacher conference day or a failing report card to contact our professional staff. I strongly encourage you to pick up the phone and call the school immediately. We’re here to work with you. In fact, the Island Trees staff understands the benefits of a good relationship between the home and school. In most cases, if we are able to work as partners from the beginning – together – we’ll have a greater chance of helping your child. I know from experience that the Island Trees staff truly appreciates knowing about any changes at home and/or with the family.
(This letter is in response to the article “Grand Jury Indicts Former Nassau Corrections Officer on 80 Counts” that appeared in the Friday, Sept. 10 edition of the Levittown Tribune.)
Commenting on the indictment of a former Nassau County corrections officer from Levittown, Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, “This man was supposed to help women with their problems, but instead he preyed on their vulnerabilities for his own sick needs...he terrorized these women by abusing his limited jailhouse power.” [“Grand Jury Indicts Former Nassau Corrections Officer on 80 Counts” Levittown Tribune, Sept. 10, 2010]. The article notes that “the charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.”
In what sense is the defendant “presumed innocent” given the definitive nature of Rice’s statements and the fact that his name and photograph have appeared in his hometown newspaper? I mean, she didn’t simply say that there were accusations against the defendant serious enough to warrant a grand jury indictment. She said “preyed on,” “terrorized,” and “abused.” How’s that a presumption of anything else other than guilt?
The SATs are a standardized test to help colleges gauge the scholastic intelligence and academic caliber of students who seek admittance into their schools. The SATs place all students - whether they are from Long Island, New York State or other states across the country - on a level playing field since they are all asked to answer the same questions. Recently, the College Board released national, state and district SAT Reasoning Test data to the public. In fact, Newsday published this information in a September 13th article titled “Dip in Statewide SAT Scores...”
Overall, national SAT scores continue to decline for college bound students. Many researchers believe this is occurring as the result of far more students taking the exam compared to years ago, while others hypothesize that schools are not preparing students with the critical reading, math and writing skills necessary for success. Below is a chart that shows how Island Trees children have fared over the last six years, including this year. In short, our critical reading score has inched up from last year, but math, which has varied greatly over the past six years, fell considerably from our last year’s high of 523. Similar to the state’s writing results, our scores in this area have remained flat from the prior year.
Almost a year and a half ago, Levittown’s Yours Ours Mine Community Center closed. Seniors who relied on the YOM for social interaction and meals were devastated (not to mention the families who relied on the daycare and adult programs). My mother and her friends were encouraged to participate in other nearby clubs. While they missed the familiarity of the YOM, they started to settle into their new centers, grateful that they still had somewhere to go.
Flash forward to a few weeks ago when several county-provided bus drivers were ‘encouraged’ to retire, rather than be given the raises they asked for. Now senior centers like Jewel Quinn in North Merrick are facing the challenge of getting the folks to the club with fewer buses and drivers. In some cases, the seniors are even being told they can only come in on certain days, forcing them to stay home on others.
Dear Island Trees School Community,
The Island Trees community in Levittown has a long, proud and storied tradition of military service. Traveling through the neighborhoods, our country’s red, white and blue colors are proudly displayed. Our parks, streets and schools have many monuments and memorials to our servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. In 1972, 20-year-old Island Trees graduate, William “Billy” Henaghan, died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam. Billy who played football and wrestled for Island Trees High School is remembered by Island Trees teacher Bob Amato for his leadership qualities, athletic ability and devotion to his family, friends and country. Bob recalls, “Billy had the opportunity to be an outstanding collegiate wrestler, but instead devotedly chose to serve his country.” A year later, the Island Trees School District honored his sacrifice by dedicating the high school athletic field in his honor. The inscription on the plaque reads, “This field named in memory of William Henaghan who through desire, devotion and self discipline dedicated his mind, body and soul to touch the highest goals in athletics and as a human being.”
(This letter is in response to the “Hannon Opposes Mosques Near Ground Zero” letter from Senator Kemp Hannon that appeared in the Friday, Aug. 27 edition of the Levittown Tribune.)
Once again the platform of the right wing has infiltrated the platform of the National Republican Party. Senator Kemp Hannon’s recent letter opposing the building of a mosque in downtown Manhattan is an example of the Republican Party to run on emotional issues to garnish votes rather than developing party policies to improve our country during these difficult economic times.
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