One cannot open a newspaper or turn on the television without being confronted by alarming headlines about a looming recession and, at the same time, the prospect of inflation.

I am afraid this will severely impact the Port Washington school budget. Rising prices for oil, electricity, gas and such mundane things as paper, replacement piping, machinery, desks and paints will directly impact how much our school taxes will have to increase. Articles in The Wall Street Journal discuss the decline in home prices and our area is not immune. Albany has ignored these crises and lowered school aid for Port Washington.

Our school district has to deal with higher prices on goods purchased, as well as an aging infrastructure. To avoid school tax sticker shock, I ask our school board to please explore ways to merge their purchases with the Roslyn and Manhasset School districts. These districts are much alike in size and requirements and they also need to maintain their infrastructure. In today's computer world it should be relatively easy to assimilate the needs of the three districts (industry has been doing this for years - one place ordering needed material for scattered facilities). Three school districts have more financial clout when it comes to buying power. There is a lot of redundancy in many purchases. After all, light bulbs are light bulbs and toilet paper is toilet paper. Additional savings could be realized by using one warehouse or delivery as needed and integrating purchasing offices as well as management.

The United States is part of a global economy and what we do not use in oil, lumber or metal products such as aluminum, copper, steel, etc., will be quickly snapped up by developing countries that are eager to build up their economies. Prices will continue to climb. You already know that as consumers, we are facing the prospect of $4 a gallon of gas this summer, as well as continuing price rises at the supermarket. This will affect our household budgets. Home values are decreasing month by month, yet the taxes go up. There is little choice. We cannot even sell our homes and leave. Future home buyers are severely limited because securing mortgages has become more difficult not only for young families, but the affluent as well. All economic reports indicate the housing market slump will take at least two years to recover and house prices will not rise as fast or at double digit rates.

I strongly urge the Port Washington School Board, as well as other citizens, to explore the idea of district-purchasing-consolidation and other reasonable cost-cutting ideas before the inflation rate increases.

Jolanda Osborg

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