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
Friday, 18 April 2014 00:00
Two hundred business students from high schools across Nassau County, including Massapequa High School, competed for scholarships and cash awards—more than $33,000 in all—from various sponsors at Nassau County’s annual Comptroller’s Entrepreneurial Challenge.
Thursday, 17 April 2014 00:00
The events on Sept. 11, 2001 had a profound effect on nearly all in the tri-state area, but for first responders, the effects were overwhelming. Long-time Massapequa resident Michael Smith, a member of the New York Fire Department, experienced those effects firsthand.
“While I’ve always been a person that could appreciate life, after 9/11 I became so distraught,” he said. “I realized I need to do something I want to do — something I love to do.”
A 30-year veteran of the fire department, Smith retired in 2002. He and his wife of 33 years, Teresa, began to look for a place they could enjoy life. This mindset brought them to the East End of Long Island, where they often went for day trips. They settled down in a home in Orient Point in 2004; in a home that needed quite a bit of work. And when it was time to landscape the property, a new idea took root — a vineyard.
Thursday, 10 April 2014 08:56
Massapequa athletes recently received honors from their coaches at Kellenberg Memorial High School.
Each season, the coaches of all of the Kellenberg teams choose one member of their team who stands out as an athlete that has worked hard to improve themselves in their chosen sport.
Thursday, 03 April 2014 10:19
The Farmingdale State women’s lacrosse team won the first game of their Spring Break trip to North Carolina with a victory over Greensboro College. In wet and muddy conditions, the Rams (8-1) held an 8-5 lead at the half and took the eventual 13-10 win.
In the first half and tied 2-2, the Pride (7-5) pulled ahead 4-2 with two unassisted goals by junior attack Nadya Fedun. Farmingdale State answered with four straight scores for a 6-4 advantage, on goals by juniors Alyssa Handel, Nicole Marzocca and Massapequan Jackie Kennedy.Sophomore attack Ashlynn Parks put Greensboro within a goal at the 7:03 mark, but the Rams scored two more to lead 8-5 at the halftime break.