If you’re a person who values common sense, then prepare yourself to be disgusted and angry. I’m about to tell you about a sensible piece of legislation that’s long overdue, but is being blocked by the New York State Assembly, which is shamelessly pandering to its constituents with your tax money. In fact, you may be shocked to learn that we even need this legislation at all, let alone that it’s being systematically stymied by some in Albany.
Currently, New York issues something called Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to our welfare recipients. It works much like a debit card and it allows us to help our needy neighbors in an efficient yet dignified way. The system conveniently provides a Food Stamp and a Cash Assistance component all on one card. As it stands, strict regulations dictate what can be purchased with the Food Stamp allotment. Cash assistance, on the other hand, is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries. To be clear, there are no restrictions whatsoever on the use of the Cash Assistance component. None. It’s doled out like cash.
After reading an article on Common Core, I agree even more. It really cuts through all the “educanese” the state is throwing at the public and fully exposes the serious flaws with the roll-out of the curriculum. You wonder how much teaching experience the people who wrote the curriculum modules have. Is the state trying to make the state program “teacher proof” by providing a virtual script for the curriculum? The curriculum is not complete and math chairs are being forced to turn to other states for a complete scope and sequence.
As I was hosting a meeting on the evening of October 23, at the Syosset Public Library on the Affordable Care Act and the NY State of Health, New York’s version of the health benefit exchange, the Obama administration was announcing that those seeking to purchase health insurance through the new online marketplace will have an additional six weeks to do so without risk of penalty.
The timing really couldn’t have been better. Since October 1, when the NY State of Health opened, there have been some technical as well as emotional glitches as individuals and families attempt to find their way to the healthcare plan that best fits their lives.
Could you imagine if, tomorrow, school districts across New York State had to absorb more than 400,000 new students? Or picture your local school enrolling hundreds of new students and the effect it would have on class sizes, let alone our ability to provide books and materials, desks and lockers. Our current facilities could in no way withstand that kind of blow. In each district, new schools would have to be immediately built and hundreds of teachers, aides, and support staff would have to be hired. With the average cost to educate a student in New York at over $20,000 annually, you could bet our already sky-high school taxes would zoom to astronomical levels.
Make no bones about it. I have been consumed with nonstop questions and concerns regarding the state education department’s rollout of the Common Core curriculum. I’m approached by constituents with questions at almost every event I attend in our district. But more than answer questions, I’ve been trying to listen because it’s abundantly clear to me that people are truly upset. There’s something wrong and they want something to be done.
To resolve this issue is going to take time and a whole lot of patience. That’s why I was so flabbergasted this past week when State Education Commissioner Dr. John King Jr. announced he was suspending his scheduled town hall meetings to discuss the roll-out of Common Core and answer questions. Apparently, the commissioner was challenged by concerned parents and teachers at a town hall meeting upstate. Blaming “special interests” (i.e. concerned parents) for what he felt was an unconstructive atmosphere, he chose to suspend subsequent meetings including the Long Island event that was to be held right here in Garden City. This was an incredibly poor decision on his part. Anyone involved in government must understand that just because you don’t like the score, doesn’t mean you can take your bat and your ball and go home. This is especially true as Dr. King not only chose the game, he set the rules by which our children will be gauged. It’s wrong.
Tom Suozzi is my cousin, so obviously you know I’m supporting him this November. He’s running again for Nassau County Executive, because he believes that this county can be one of the greatest places to live in the country. He’s a deeply caring man that wants nothing more than to use his skills, abilities and leadership to serve his community and provide a better future for our children.
I have known Judi Bosworth for over 25 years. I met Judi when she was President of the Saddle Rock Elementary School PTA. At the first meeting, I knew that we, as parents, were in extremely capable hands. It is very rare to meet someone and feel so confident that our issues and concerns are going to be represented in a thoughtful, effective and compassionate manner.
Recently, we, as your elected members of the Carle Place Board of Education, have received questions from community members concerning the status of the school district’s negotiations with the Carle Place Teachers’ Association. We would like the community to know that while we want to negotiate a fair contract with the teachers’ union, this contract must be fair to our taxpayers as well. There appears to be a lot of inaccurate information circulating in the community concerning the current negotiations, and we would like to set the record straight.
The average salary for Carle Place Teachers is $112,435. In this respect, more than 83 percent of Carle Place teachers are making more than $100,000 per year. In addition, Carle Place teachers receive generous benefits not typically seen in the corporate world, including health insurance for which they only pay 10 percent. Moreover, they also receive substantial pension benefits upon retirement.
Thank you all for making the Matt Powell and Dan McGovern Memorial Golf Outing a great success. We had 108 golfers and all had a great day. Even the weather cooperated. Friends and family joined the golfers later for dinner and raffles. Many went home with great prizes which were donated by various area businesses.
Your kindness and your generosity is a wonderful tribute to our boys. Your generous donations will fund the two scholarships established in their names for many years to come and their memory will live on with each student we are able to help.
Linda and Mark Powell, Doris and Mike McGovern and our families
The new performing arts theatre in Westbury known as The Space is a huge attraction revitalizing our downtown community. This is part of the magnet that has been needed to draw back people to the downtown after having left us for the past twenty or more years for Roosevelt Field; Corporate Drive and Fortunoff’s Shopping Center, among others. The Village of Westbury, its former Mayor Ernest Strada and it current Mayor Peter Cavallaro together with our Village Board deserve very substantial credit for staying the course, having foresight and developing a plan with the new owners that will generate enormous vitality into the community. The $10-million invested has created a beautiful venue that will generate revenue for the owners and our entire downtown. Our hats are off to them and all responsible for a job well done.
Thomas F. Liotti
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