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As a longtime reader of Anton Community Newspapers, I am particularly gratified by the excellent coverage that Port Washington News provides on the educational services within the community. We in Port are truly blessed to have such a wide range of public and private schools for the development of our children.

It is essential that we continue our history of excellent education, providing sound training in civics and ethics and a wide array of academic subjects so that coming generations will be equipped to lead our nation and the world.

Many of us have noted the recently announced closings of almost two dozen parochial schools in Brooklyn and Queens. Similarly, there are reports that a few private schools in Nassau, facing increased costs and declining enrollment, may likewise close.

Here in Port, St. Peter of Alcantara School has provided excellent educational services to its children for over 70 years. This 450-student school continues to excel, is a strong, viable institution, but still faces the same economic challenges that other private institutions face.

Should St. Peter's eventually close (and this is not anticipated), it would have a serious impact on the Port Washington school system and on the tax rates of all residents. On one hand, the school district would be hard pressed to accommodate a sudden and sustained influx of 450 students into the system. On the other hand, educational budgets and hence taxes would necessarily rise to finance the education of these children.

New York State law clearly limits the type of assistance that is permissible for private schools: transportation, textbooks, health services, etc. Yet, it is to our advantage that private schools such as St. Peter's continue to thrive.

The Port Washington Union Free School District is encouraged to engage St. Peter of Alcantara School in a spirit of cooperation, so that the lawful sharing of educational resources is maximized for the good of our children and our community.

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