End the Fire$ale of Public Education
To the Honorable Governor Cuomo: We are a group of active parents and teachers, writing to enlist your help in ameliorating the obstacles that trouble our public schools in Commack and across Long Island. We have a shared responsibility to take care of our children, and you being the lobbyist for the children must understand the chilling effect that the 2% tax cap will have upon our educational programs. This year our district faces a decline in support services, 40-60 teacher layoffs, increased class sizes, and the probable elimination of enrichment programs, such as field trips, math/reading workshops, and student organizations that foster the whole student. There is no doubt that the effects of the tax cap will lead to a decline in student performance. We would like you to rethink the 60% supermajority currently necessary to pierce the tax cap. The local decision to pass the tax levy has always worked in Commack. Our community has voted time and again for great schools and sound educational programs. This new undemocratic process of ratifying a budget in excess of the 2% cap, is an offense to 50% plus one who ratified the 94% of Long Island school budgets last year. We are concerned about the hundreds of millions of dollars our state received in federal Race to the Top funds. Our district has received less than ten-thousand dollars a year, while losing local autonomy, and incurring far greater costs in mandates attached to this program. We are concerned about this, our tax dollars, being showered upon a handful of privately owned charter schools. All the while, our publicly educated children are being ignored by our own public tax dollars. Lastly, we are writing for swift distribution of the $250 million in competitive grant dollars that have been held up by politics in Albany. We are looking for a more responsible budgetary approach that fosters a strong public educational system.