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Editorial: Giving In The Off-Season

Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00

It’s easy to forget suffering in spring. When the winds blow warm and gentle, the world feels like a tender, forgiving place. 

 

There is always an abundance of volunteers at holiday time. Starting at Thanksgiving, chill air and frost on the ground provide stark contrast to the warmth of hearth and home embodied in our year-end celebrations. Through Christmas (the giving holiday) and all the cold winter months, everyone wants to help feed the hungry (often as a kind of object lesson for children) and comfort the lonely. 

 

Letter: School Aid and the Budget

Thursday, 27 March 2014 00:00

Recently, Governor Cuomo announced a 3 percent statewide school aid increase in his proposed Executive Budget. Although his school aid budget may have increased, this “increase” did not materialize for most Nassau County school districts. In fact, Island Trees experienced a slight school aid decrease in this “increased” 2014-15 Executive Budget. Unfortunately, since the start of the Great Recession of 2010, Island Trees school aid has decreased a total of $7,628,347, the equivalent of a 19 percent increase on the tax levy.

 

Letter: Remembering William Levitt

Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00

Someone once said that America is an epic so sweeping that virtually anything said or written about it is apt to be equally true and equally false. This is frequently the case of great men and women too and, indeed, of William Levitt. 

 

On Jan. 28, 2014, Levittown observed the twentieth anniversary of the death of William J. Levitt, the man I deem one of the great geniuses of the modern era. He certainly came with so many of the traits of minds who fashion new paradigms, original constructs, and novel genre; exhibiting powerful assertiveness before the challenges posed reconciling seemingly contradictory trains of thought and erecting entirely new syncretic formulations from polar opposites. He was, incontestably, a man of extraordinary paradox. 

 

Letter: Much Ado About Farmedge

Thursday, 20 March 2014 00:00

Long Island is quickly becoming “Lost Island,” further fueled by the short-sighted thinking of Levittown residents who would rather maintain unused and outdated school buildings in the unrealistic hope that children will one day return. Isn’t a 20 year wait long enough?

 

The demographics on Long Island tell a sad, but true tale, about young adults and families fleeing the Island in record numbers resulting in the school age population shrinking by thousands.  This will not change in the near future, or perhaps, ever.

 

Letter: Preaching To The Choir

Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00

Your “Patience Is A Virtue” editorial was a good one: a good “lesson”, plus good advice.  Unfortunately, it was probably “preaching to the choir”,  because patient drivers will continue practicing responsible, careful driving habits; while impatient, reckless fools who arrogantly think that their time is more important than anyone else’s safety, will likely continue their bad  driving  habits.  

 

If only horn-honkers  like that  Mercedes owner were the worst ones on the road. It’s more the speeders, swervers, texters, and drunkards who cause the most damage and death. I only wish that each of them would hit a vehicle or an incapacitating pothole before they cause an accident that will kill or maim some innocent person.

 

Richard Siegelman


 

Letter:

Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00

I read the attack on John Owens’ articles on Common Core by Stanley Ronell with amazement. How could one person be so misinformed about the topic of Common Core curriculum? Mr. Owens was a teacher, and his views were right on target. The curriculum and the roll-out have been a disaster.  I suggest he read an excellent expose, Reign of Error, by Diane Ravitch, and Mr Owens’ book, Confessions of a Bad Teacher, before he writes further letters.

 

This is my 50th year in education, and I have never seen such a disaster. The testing is off-target, and the curriculum is not age-appropriate. 

 

In mathematics, we had an excellent curriculum, and the Regents exams appropriately measured students’ learning. Why fix something that isn’t broken?

 

C. Vincent Pane Ed.D.


 

Letter: Island Trees School District’s Fiscal Stress Status

Thursday, 13 March 2014 00:00

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has developed a fiscal stress monitoring system for government municipalities and school districts.  The chief purpose of this monitoring system is to provide public organizations with necessary feedback regarding the level of fiscal stress under which the institution is operating. There are four designations indicating the particular level of fiscal stress: “Significant Fiscal Stress (65 percent-100 percent)”, “Moderate Fiscal Stress (55 percent-64.9 percent)”, “Susceptible to Fiscal Stress (45 percent-54.9 percent)”, and “No Designation (0 percent-44.9 percent)”.  Districts may operate under fiscal stress due to revenue shortfalls, expenditure overruns, or budget deficits. Fittingly, Island Trees received “No Designation” (0%) status, which, according to the Comptroller’s Office, means that our district is financially sound and is not operating under any fiscal stress.  Presently, 13% of New York State school districts are operating on some level of fiscal stress, including four Nassau County school districts (Lawrence, Manhasset, Seaford, and Valley Stream 24). Important to note is that while many of these school districts were once lauded for their financial position, a poor decision here or there may have had a negative impact on their overall fiscal health.  Therefore, it is important for all school districts to anticipate future economic challenges and to remain focused on their fiduciary responsibilities.  Failure to do so can result in a district quickly being added to the Comptroller “Fiscal Stress” list. Collectively, the Island Trees School Board has been very proactive with our fiscal stewardship, which has helped facilitate our current position.   As a group, we will continue to act in a fiscally responsible manner on behalf of the community and students.

 

Island Trees Board of Education

 

Kenneth Rochon, President                        

 

Kristen Daum, Vice Preside

 

Daniel Donahue                                         

 

Patricia Mahon

 

Kim McDonough

 

Barbara Medellin

 

George Storm


 

Letter: Petition To Protect Your Child’s Privacy

Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00

By now, I am certain you have all heard of Common Core. Though the intent may have been good, the resulting standards and implementation have been a complete debacle.

 

At no time were early education or developmental specialists consulted in designing the standards. Special needs children have been completely forgotten. The result is a set of expectations for our youngest students which are not only developmentally inappropriate, but completely at odds with what we know of cognitive development. Ironically, Jason Zimba, the mathematics standards writer for Common Core, reports that these standards were designed to prepare students for a two year college, and that graduating seniors would be unprepared for a freshman calculus course.  How can we consider these standards to be superior if our graduating students will be even less prepared for STEM fields than they are now?

 

Letter:

Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00

First, I’d like to commend the Island Trees School Board for abiding by its fiduciary responsibility to the residents of the district in exploring a possible sale of the Farmedge property. There is nothing wrong in doing preliminary research into the possible benefit of a sale on taxes and school funding.

 

First, I’d like to commend the Island Trees School Board for abiding by its fiduciary responsibility to the residents of the district in exploring a possible sale of the Farmedge property. There is nothing wrong in doing preliminary research into the possible benefit of a sale on taxes and school funding.

 

Local Opinion

Written by Tara Bono Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00

What About Young Families? 

Over the years, I have written about the need to keep young people on Long Island and have brainstormed with other young professionals on how we can get more of our peers to stay; I've heard from elected leaders on the alleged “brain drain” problem, and heard the plight of companies who can’t find and keep talent on Long Island, because many of the best have been smart enough to move from Long Island to a region where they can afford to live.

 

During that time, I assumed that older generations of Long Islanders shared this concern. I thought they understood that a rapidly changing population is completely unsustainable, and it meant that they would be picking up our tax tab while we move to greener pastures.

 

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