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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?



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.


Letter: Concerns with Farmedge

Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00

I have lived in the Island Trees community for the past 41 years. When I was raising my children I was very active in both the Island Trees School community and many organizations that make up this community. 


I was in attendance at the Feb. 10, meeting where the Island Trees School District presented their proposals for the Island Trees Farmedge property. I left that meeting with many concerns. One of my biggest concerns, was how this matter is being approached by both the school district and the Island Trees Library. 


Hitting The Brakes

Written by Island Trees Superintendent Of Schools Dr. Charles Murphy Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00

In response to the concerns shared at the recent Farmedge Property Forum, the district plans to slow down the process and seek community input.  As a result, the district will solicit volunteers to study the Farmedge property in more detail.  In particular, the district hopes to explore the sale of the property with a cross-section of key stakeholders from the school community.  The committee will be charged with the responsibility of investigating a number of new options, including the following examples: 


1. To sell the entire Farmedge property. Included in the sale would be the addition of a new library and school district office at this location.


Letter: To Levittown Parents: Care About The Core

Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00

I do not know many of you, but I have been blessed to meet a few through the shared intrests of our children and ourselves. I am about to celebrate only a year in our first home here and I am thrilled with how welcoming this community has been. It is living up to everything I expected and was told by family members who grew up or still live here. 


This truly is a family community, with children everywhere it has been a wonderful experience for my kids. I grew up in Long Island, so I knew what to expect. My kids spent their early lives in Queens, and as some of you personally know—there’s plenty of reasons why we left. 


Letter: Immigrants, Then And Now

Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00

I found Maryann Sinclair Slutsky’s article on Michael Dowling (“An Immigrant Who Hasn’t Forgotten”) very interesting.


My parents also immigrated from Ireland, with an 18-month-old daughter, after waiting two years for permission to come. My mother was nine months pregnant with me at that time, but decided to come anyway.


This was in 1929, and they were here two weeks when I was born. So, you talk about struggle, no job, and then came the start of the Depression.


Letter: Past, Present And Future Of Housing In Levittown

Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:00

Levittown’s history can be periodized into five approximate eras; a Jerusalem Period (1664-1837) in which Quaker and Puritan settlers and their descendants established an agricultural community south of Hempstead Turnpike and thence into present-day Wantagh; an Island Trees Period (1837-1900) in which the arrival of the LIRR on the Hempstead Plains facilitated the establishment of farmsteads from Hicksville southwards to the Turnpike; a Period of Modernization (1900-1936) whereupon automotive technology and aviation and electricity made their appearance; and a Suburban Period (1936-1980) in which explosive population growth, commercial expansion, and residential development remade the face of the land. 


Letter: Support Coach Michael Bonsignore

Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:00

When first hearing that Coach Bons was removed from the football program it would be an understatement to say I was shocked. The administration was obviously looking at simply wins and losses and not the changes that were made from when he originially took over. I should know. When I was a freshman on the JV team in high school, it was also Coach Bons’ first season as the head of the varsity team. He taught all of his players how to play together as a group and cooperate with constructive criticism thrown into our play. I can honestly say that my high s hool years of football were some of the most influential years on my life. I may have not known it at the time, but I sure do know and understand it now. Coach Bons made a lasting impression on us players and I still can say

I’m great friends with 15-plus of my former teammates. His teachings not only prepared us for games but for life as well. Pushing ourselves to the limits and then pushing more—proving that we can accomplish what we need in life if we put our mind to it. When we lost it only would show that life doesn’t always go as planned: but you overcome and adapt and move on to the next game and move on to the next step in life. 


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