Friday, 11 May 2012 00:00
For many years, Long Island school taxes increased at two and three time the rate of inflation. They are now the highest in the entire country. With great fanfare, a tax cap was recently signed into law, but unfortunately, when the dust has settled, we may find that it did more harm than any good it achieved.
Contracts with New York teachers’ unions have long provided step increases, a feature that guarantees annual salary increases for many of those employed. Thanks to the Taylor Law’s Triborough Amendment, these annual increases continue indefinitely, even when a contract has expired.
This acts like an engine continually forcing school spending ever upward. And the increases demanded, are much larger than can be accommodated under the cap. How will school districts deal with this? Some are beginning to trim programs and lay off teachers. A few others are asking voter approval for piercing the cap. Here in Massapequa, rather clever accounting is being employed.
For several years, the district budgeted and taxed us for more money than the schools actually spent. The surplus, almost $20 million was placed in reserves. This year, in order to operate within the cap, several million of the reserve funds were utilized and the plan calls for tapping reserves again next year.
Obviously, this can’t go on forever. When reserves have been exhausted, only three different actions seem possible:
• Reduce the teaching and administrative staffs and/or eliminate various programs;
• Get approval from the electorate to pierce the cap. Thus, sizable increases in spending and taxes would continue, or;
• The school board and the teachers’ union work out a new agreement providing a much-needed reduction in the upward salary spiral.
Parents and taxpayers would of course much prefer the previous option 3, but very likely, it will be difficult to achieve. Union leaders are usually in the business of asking for more. They seldom agree to less.
School employees have unions to represent them when labor contracts are negotiated. School boards are supposed to look after the interests of parents and taxpayers.
Dianne Sheffield and Joseph Marsh have lengthy periods of hands-on involvement. Moreover, they are educated, articulate, have children in the schools and have impressive backgrounds. They will have my votes.
Experience now seems very desirable. In Massapequa, the contract with hundreds of teachers is the single most important element in the district’s finances. Whoever is elected to the board on May 15, will immediately become involved in crucial negotiations.
On June 30, the present contract with the teachers union expires.
James E. Stubenrauch
Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00
Ask anyone on Long Island where to go to get a quality cup of coffee, and you’ll probably hear a variety of answers; however, ask the same question in the Massapequas, and one response you’ll hear more often than not is “Massapequa Perk.”
Located at 117 Front Street in Massapequa Park, across from the Long Island Rail Road station, Massapequa Perk first opened its doors five years ago in August of 2008. They deal with tea, smoothies, and various food and dessert items, but their bread and butter, so to speak, is coffee — selling it, roasting it and educating people about it, said co-owner Lisa DiBenedetto
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
A recent lawsuit against Northrop Grumman Corp. for groundwater contamination has the Massapequa Water District ensuring residents that its drinking water is safe for public consumption.
Bethpage Water District officials recently filed a federal lawsuit against Northrop Grumman Corp., claiming the company’s facilities caused “irreparable harm” by creating a toxic plume that has contaminated the groundwater, costing the district millions of dollars and threatening more than 33,000 customers in Bethpage, Old Bethpage, Farmingdale, Levittown and Plainview — while coming close to Massapequa.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
With the Nassau County title on the line, junior kicker Zach Kolodny was the most composed player on the field. With time expiring, he booted the game-winning kick to send the Farmingdale Dalers into the Long Island Championship with a 29-26 victory over the Massapequa Chiefs.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Kolodny. “I was confident from the beginning that I would make the kick,” he added. “We practice this every day.”
The game featured a bevy of twists and took on a completely different feel in the fourth quarter than it did for the first three quarters.
Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
It was a historic day for the Chiefs as both the boys and girls varsity soccer teams capped the season with state championship titles. The win was the first state championship for the boys, who defeated Fairport, 1-0 at SUNY Cortland and the fifth for the girls, who beat North Rockland, 2-1 in Middletown, New York.
The winning goal for the boys team was scored by sophomore Dylan Nealis, who just the day before scored the winning goal in the AA state semifinal.