We are writing in response to your Feb. 16 letter to fellow New Yorkers on education reform. We agree that New Yorkers elected you to be their voice in Albany and to make tough decisions; it is also true that New Yorkers elected 5,000 school board members around the state to be the voice of their school districts.
My Fellow New Yorkers,
You elected me to be your voice in Albany and to make tough decisions. Few issues are as critical to the future of our state as reforming our education system.
Right now, we rank number one in the nation in spending per student, and number 34 in student achievement. Worse still, these poor results are coming after a decade of record spending increases in education funding.
Both before and after the enactment of a control period by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority on Jan. 26, budget reform and the renegotiation of union agreements with Nassau County have been the call of the day.
(Statement by NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer)
It will require a Herculean effort by school boards to absorb Governor Andrew Cuomo’s whopping 7.3 percent funding cut to schools without impacting student achievement. Now more than ever, school boards, employee bargaining units and administrators will have to work together to manage this fiscal crisis. But if cuts of this magnitude are enacted, districts will need more than creative thinking and a willingness to make even greater sacrifices. They will need significant help from state lawmakers in the form of serious reforms to state laws that drive up school district costs. School districts are working hard to help their students meet higher proficiency standards and become better citizens. While student learning may take place in the classroom, it also happens in the art studio, the science lab and on the soccer field. That is why our schools need strong support, including adequate funding, from Albany in order to raise all students to higher standards.
This ought to be a point of pride for us: Hometown boy makes good.
With the new Congress, Long Island Congressman Peter King became the chair of the Homeland Security Committee in the House of Representatives.
It’s 2011 – by now you have had to figure out that when living on Long Island you have to be loud. Sometimes the loudness will come from yelling over the honking horns and traffic on the Long Island Expressway. Sometimes the loudness will come from singing along with the national anthem at a Long Island Ducks or New York Islanders game. Sometimes the loudness will come from shouting your order of fruit and vegetables at a local farmers market that’s bustling with hundreds of Long Islanders.
There will be many reflections about the 2001 terrorist attack on America in the months to come. Following is my reflection on the memorial service at the World Trade Center on October 28, 2001. I attended the service in a group of mental health professionals who offered support for the bereaved.
I knew Nassau County’s finances were bad but I never knew how bad until I became County Executive in January 2010.
I soon learned I had inherited from Tom Suozzi a 2010 budget with a $133 million deficit, that spending was wasteful and out of control, that Suozzi had given the public employee unions extravagant labor contracts, that these contracts prevented the county from laying off employees – even in difficult economic times, that borrowing was commonplace – driving the county further and further into debt each year, and that – while the 2010 budget was bad – Suozzi’s spending and union giveaways would drive future budgets even deeper into debt.
I believe the citizens of Nassau County should know that under the Suozzi Administration they elected to close down the Cedar Creek Process Control Lab in Seaford, which tests sewage and sludge daily for both Bay Park and Cedar Creek Sewage plants.
(Editor’s Note: This letter from County Executive Edward Mangano is in response to the Dec. 23 letter “Setting the Record Straight” from Dr. Ranier W. Melucci, President of the Nassau County Council of School Superintendents and Superintendent of Schools in the Merrick School District.)
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