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Opinion

It is evident from school board President Laura Mogul's comments in the Port News that she just doesn't "get it" with regard to the failed mini-bond issue. For that matter neither do most of the other members of the board.

No, Ms. Mogul, the bond was not the "most fiscally responsible" way to proceed with repairing the roofs. Given the level of fiscal responsibility exercised to date on the multiple construction projects under way, the last thing this community needs is more of the same.

And, no, this project should not be brought back at a later date in another proposed bond issue.

Why aren't funds put aside each year to cover normal maintenance, such as roof repair, which everyone knows will be needed within a certain number of years? Why can't the buildings be maintained or repaired on an ongoing basis before the situation balloons into a crisis that will take $6 million to fix?

Oh, make that $7 million. After all, what's another million or so for a slate roof that will last 100 years, and looks better, too? There's fiscal responsibility for you. Let's put ourselves further in debt and add to the tax burden even as the outlook for town and county finances is still uncertain, to save our grandchildren the expense of having to re-roof Weber in 40 or 50 years. What nonsense, First of all, the current slate roof hasn't lasted anywhere near 100 years. Second, suppose there is a problem with the roof decades down the road. Lots of luck finding the contractor or manufacturer to make good on a warranty issued 60 or 70 years earlier.

The tax impact of this bond, we are told, would "only" be $27.50 per year. Is that on top of the bargain price of "just $1 a day" that the $66 million bond issue of two years ago is supposed to cost? Which is on top of the $13 to $20 a day that most of us are already paying. Which is on top of who-knows-what because of the county-wide reassessment and the miserable state of Nassau County's finances.

As a result of the vote, there are the members of our community who are no doubt wailing, rending their garments and donning sackcloth and ashes because the money might have to come from the general fund, which means taking it from "the children." In fact, the board's scenarios as reported in the newspapers before the vote said that the money would have to be made up from academic programs if the bond didn't pass. Does the board mean to tell us that in a $104 million budget it can't find economies to fund the roofing project over the next couple of years? That would mean paring expenses elsewhere by less than 5 percent a year. Do we really need all those non-classroom administrative positions at executive salaries? Will students really be irretrievably harmed if class sizes are increased a bit? I sincerely doubt it.

It is high time that the board of ed and the administration realize that this community is not a bottomless pot of cash. Just the fact that the board was willing to spend an extra million bucks on a slate rather than asphalt roof makes me want to scream. Enough is enough. Put your house in order before you come to us for more money.

Samuel Glasser


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