Due to the trials that both Nassau and Suffolk counties are experiencing with financial woes, I’d like to comment on an important sector of our population, our seniors. These daytime centers where they congregate on a daily basis are extremely important to their well-being. To sanction cutbacks and possibly limited availability would be devastating to them. I am employed at a daytime senior center. There are two cooks and we help prepare hot meals to our seniors on a daily basis. Aside from the usual senior center activities of bingo, cards, entertainment, outings and various classes, there is a daylong event that takes place once the summer months are here. On Fridays, a group of us accompany folks to Lido Beach for a day of fun and making memories.
As we were going to press, The Massapequan Observer received the same sad news as other local residents: Harry Jacobson, one of the giants of recent village history had passed away. From the time he moved to Massapequa in the early 1950s, Harry did more than just help to raise his growing family. He eagerly served the village in a range of capacities, providing leadership and educating a rising generation of leaders, also.
At the risk of sounding precocious, I’ve been suspicious of new curriculum initiatives ever since I was 5 years old. Actually, it’s more like I have one very vivid memory from when I was 5 that I only realized the significance of much later, but it certainly planted a seed of wariness.
One day in kindergarten, my classmates were called up to our teacher one at a time during our usual playtime. When my name was called, I nervously approached the desk only to find my teacher pointing to a single word on a page. “Can you read this?” she asked.
One of our faithful readers, noting all the attention focused on school board elections and budgets, points out that the real culprits in the middle class struggle are not school board members, but state and county legislators. Fair enough. We have great respect for those who serve or seek to serve on school boards. They handle budgets that run into the tens of millions of dollars while also dealing with parental demands and worst of all, unfunded mandates. It’s a thankless persuasion. But what about state lawmakers? They tend to have safe districts and seem more distant from constituents than school board members. The points are well taken. Citizens need to remain vigilant on such matters.
Now Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is taking a go at it, and has charged a commission with increasing efficiencies and improving outcomes at our schools. But if Cuomo’s team focuses on the same old solutions, we can expect the same dismal results. To really make a difference, we need to start thinking outside of the classroom.
“How is the Water?” is a question people are asking Island-wide and nationwide. Nitrogen pollution is an increasing threat to the quality of our drinking water, and the water in our harbors and bays. Environmentalists, scientists and government leaders came together last month to discuss “Water We Going to Do?” The event was coordinated by the Group for the East End (GEE), Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE), the Long Island Pine Barrens Society (LIPBS) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), with support from the Rauch Foundation (RF).
Bob DeLuca of GEE reviewed the findings of the Suffolk County Health Department study of the water supply. The decline of water quality is commensurate with the rise in population since the 1980s, with increasing contamination from septic systems, pesticides and fertilizers. Groundwater takes approximately 20 years to filter through the ground and enter the harbor and bays, so the problems we are seeing now are the consequences of actions taken long ago.
Almost all candidates that ran for the board of education pointed out that administrative salaries were the cause of the increases in the Massapequa School District (MSD) budgets over the past few years. That is not the main reason for the budget increases.
I am also surprised that concerned property owners and, it seems, some of you struggling to meet your financial obligations, cannot see that reducing administrative salaries will not solve the rising costs of the MSD. Even if administrative salaries were reduced in half to the $60,000 - $120,000 range, the savings would be about $3 million. However, that would be a one shot savings. What would you do the next year?
Governor Andrew Cuomo and our state legislators have stated that with the passage of the 2 percent tax cap, Long Island homeowners finally have what they wanted: A means to control exorbitant property taxes increases.
What we have is an imbalance between those who have, taking from those who have not. As reported recently, the Qualcomm CEO received $35 million in 2011, an increase of $24 million more than he received in 2010. The Starbucks CEO got $41 million in 2011 and “only” $29 million in 2010. The take home pay of CEO’s grew at least 10 percent in 2011.
On behalf of the Massapequa Board of Education and administration, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to our registered voters for coming out to the polls and approving the 2012-13 school budget.
Your support is the lifeblood of this district. It is what keeps high quality academic, athletic and arts programs pumping strong for our students. I commend you for acknowledging our continued efforts to minimize the burden on our taxpayers — especially during this historic year of the New York State property tax cap — and for supporting our high caliber programs that are so vital to students’ success.
“I don’t watch the news. It’s too depressing.”
If I had a nickel for every time I heard that, well, I’d have a lot of nickels. Of course, when you work in the newspaper industry, it’s hard to avoid the news, but is it that depressing? Let’s recap some of the major news stories from this week.
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