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Letter: Put The Blame Where It Belongs

Almost all candidates that ran for the board of education pointed out that administrative salaries were the cause of the increases in the Massapequa School District (MSD) budgets over the past few years. That is not the main reason for the budget increases.

I am also surprised that concerned property owners and, it seems, some of you struggling to meet your financial obligations, cannot see that reducing administrative salaries will not solve the rising costs of the MSD. Even if administrative salaries were reduced in half to the $60,000 - $120,000 range, the savings would be about $3 million. However, that would be a one shot savings. What would you do the next year?

Also, $3 million in savings would not solve the problem of balancing next year’s budget. Most importantly, who would want to run and be responsible for a school district consisting of nine buildings and 8,000 students for less than $100,000? You will get what you pay for; in this case, chaos. What would you pay teachers? Currently, many teachers are working after school hours, weekends and most of the summer at learning centers on Long Island. You can’t live in Massapequa with one wage and/or one job, unless it is more than $100,000. The median income for Massapequa Park families is $125,000: Why deny comparable income for teachers?

Pension costs, which the school districts do not control, has been the driving factor behind increasing costs. The state pension fund lost $109 billion (thank you New York State legislators) when Wall Street crashed. That principle has to be replaced no matter what the board does. It will only get worse when the tax certiorari refunds have to come out of the school budget (thank you Nassau County legislators) next year.

Run the numbers including the cost of energy, transportation, health insurance, (here the MSD should negotiate increasing contributions by the teachers) and unfunded state mandates. Over 50 percent of Massapequa families earn more that $100,000. These salaries increase the cost of the goods and services produced by these residents, just as the salaries of school employees impact our property tax costs. We are all struggling middle-income residents. Direct your anger at the real culprits, our state and county legislators.

Tony Mignone