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It is charming of Mrs. John Zimmerman to write expressing support for her husband's plan, if a tad disingenuous of her to do so as Dorothy Christofides (her maiden name). The points she makes are important ones. Herricks District did, indeed, solicit community input regarding a middle school configuration of grades seven - eight. However, they ended up deciding on a six - eight middle school for the same reason Port Washington's board did - because they considered it educationally superior.

Like Mrs. Zimmerman, my children are also years away from middle school, so I have no personal knowledge of the pros or cons of the current house system. However, everything I have heard or read about the middle school years indicates that it is the most difficult time in the educational life of a young person. It is common sense that giving students a sense of continuity during their turbulent early adolescent years is critical for them in achieving a successful educational experience during that time in their lives. Dr. Inserra's considered opinion that such a continuity is best served by a three year educational experience rather than a truncated two year experience leads strong support for the Board of Ed's plan to renovate Sousa into a three year middle school.

Mrs. Zimmerman also points out that if the bond is not passed by June 30, we will lose 10 percent of state funding - which is really more than a third of the possible ceiling of 28 percent reimbursement.

I found it rather ironic that she mentions the phrase "scare tactics" to describe that unequivocal fact. I remember literature that was distributed when the school budget was originally defeated last May, in support of her husband's campaign for election to the school board, implying that the bond vote would somehow raise people's taxes $2,000 when that is simply not true. Actually, if the bond is passed and the average property tax rate is raised by $500 per year, that becomes closer to $300 annually when deducted from income tax: less than a dollar a day.

Of course, Dorothy is going to believe that her husband's plan is on the right track. What wife wouldn't at least profess that in public? And she has a right to express her opinion.

My opinion, however, is that the Sussman/Zimmerman plan is willing to sacrifice a constructive learning environment for our children for the sake of economic expediency. The Board of Ed's plan will set the stage for this generation's and the next generation's academic success in the 21st century.

Vote yes for the school bond.

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