Written by Colleen Napoli, Wantagh resident Friday, 01 April 2011 00:00
Due to the economic conditions that our country has been suffering, cutbacks in state aid, increased unfunded mandates, and a tax cap; I would encourage you to fairly negotiate with the Levittown Board of Education to make concessions to your existing contract for the upcoming school year. Without such concessions, continued loss of programs and staff is inevitable for the Levittown School District.
Many districts across Long Island are suffering the same economic plight and their teachers’ unions are working with their district to find an economic compromise that works for all involved. The district that you are servicing is comprised of families that are struggling to get by, retired residents that are fighting to stay in the town where they raised their children, residents that have been forced into foreclosure and working class people that have faced job loss, pay freezes and pay cuts. For many we are just happy to have jobs. We are asking you to be fair-minded and give back to the community that has supported you for decades. It is time for everyone to realize that our district is in crisis and this crisis is one that can be averted with the help of the members of the LUT Levittown United Teachers.
What makes America strong - different from other nations - is our ability to put aside differences and come together to work through and support one another in times of crisis. The economic strife that our school district is about to face is such a crisis. Day in and day out it is the teaching staff of our schools that brings education to life for our children and for this we are grateful. It is for this reason that you have for years been awarded enviable contracts that provide you with health care and pensions that you so deserve. What I am asking is for you to walk through the community and take notice of the ‘for sale’ signs, step into the cafeteria and take note of the increased amount of students receiving free lunch, listen to your students when they say mom or dad lost their job.
This country has fallen on hard times and so too has the first suburb - our town - Levittown. We need you to act now to put our children, our schools, and our community first. If you put aside your pay and step increase to save our district you will have behaved in a fashion that is responsible and respectable. If you forgo this opportunity to support us in our time of need you will greatly affect the future of the Levittown School District.
While politicians are reporting that districts have money in the bank, what they fail to realize is that once the money in the bank is spent there is no more. The Board of Education is making cuts all across the board and every department is sharing the pain. Without your help in our time of need it will be our children that will suffer. Class size will go up, programs will be sacrificed, and teachers will inevitably be lost in great numbers. In less than three years, if drastic and appropriate changes are not made now, the district that you work in will be unrecognizable. Again, on behalf of the community that I love, I implore you to do what is right for our children and for our district.