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Letter: Invest In Our Children, Invest In The Community

On May 20, 2014, our community will have an opportunity to not only invest in the future of our children, but to invest in the future of our community by voting yes for the Board Referendum and the 2014-15 school budget. As we learned last December, every vote counts. While Floral Park-Bellerose passed the bond, the other towns voted it down. Do not leave it up to your neighbors to get out and vote yes.

As the recent US News and World Report rankings demonstrate, Floral Park Memorial ranks in the top 2.5 percent of all high schools across the nation and ranks in the top 5 percent in New York State. Additionally, Memorial earned the distinction of a Gold Medal School. Without a strong school district the children suffer, the community suffers and our property values will suffer.

No one wants to pay more taxes but with the 2 percent tax cap, a bond is necessary in order to ensure that capital improvements are completed. I would suggest that everyone prior to voting go to the school district website at www.sewanhaka.k12.ny.us and see the plans for the work as well as photographs of the condition of the schools. Additionally, the school board has been very transparent with how the bond money will be spent. The website outlines the line-by-line expenses for the work to be completed at each school.

The passage of the bond will allow the school district to make necessary repairs and upgrades to the antiquated infrastructure of the five district high schools. Additionally, the auditorium expansion will double seating capacity and will include much needed music, chorus and orchestra rooms. A new synthetic field to be used by soccer, football, field hockey and lacrosse teams as well as our many youth teams and organizations will be installed. Over the last 10 to 20 years the amount of use on these fields has exploded. Because of the over-use of the fields the Memorial High School field was closed for a year because it was unsafe for our children to play on. This can never happen again. Countless hours are spent by district personnel on maintaining the fields. With the new fields many of these hours can be better spent on preventative maintenance issues on the district infrastructure.

As homeowners in the community, we each have a vested interest in a strong school district. The time is now to invest in our children and the future of our community. I urge each of you to vote yes for the passage of the bond referendum and the 2014-15 school budget. It is important that each of your tell your families, friends and neighbors to vote yes on May 20, 2014.

Bill Nolan