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Protesters Rally Against Education Cuts

Activists push for the extension of the millionaires tax at Hofstra get together.

Nearly 2,500 people rallied for public education on Thursday evening at the fitness center at Hofstra University.

Teachers, parents, grandparents, students and politicians spoke out against a proposed $1.5 billion cut to public schools and a 2 percent property-tax cap, which limits the amount a local government can increase property taxes to pay for school programs and district salaries.

They're likely to get their way on the property tax cap - at least temporarily - as Republicans said the cap would likely not take effect this year.

The protesters pushed for the millionaires tax, a tax that is designed to hit New York’s top earners and expires Dec. 31, arguing it could raise $5 billion for classrooms.

Organizers stood by the entrance to the gym, collecting email addresses and distributing literature.

Among them was Elaine Berman, a Port Washington resident and a retired educator.

She said she hoped politicians would “start to listen,” adding, “I don’t want the kids to lose.”

Karen Rosenthal, who attended Port Washington schools, taught there before teaching and residing in Syosset. Now, she’s retired, living in Plainview. Looking at the supporters entering the complex, she said, “I hope everyone, as well as politicians, begin to understand how important it is to stand behind education.” Rosenthal worried that if educators aren’t supported now, “nobody will want to go into teaching.”

Deborah LoSardo teaches in West Babylon but lives in North Babylon.  Sitting next to her were her twin daughters, who are in first grade.

“We need to fight for their rights, and our rights as educators,” she said.

Esther Kramer teaches in Farmingdale.

“The 2 percent tax cap is ridiculous,” Kramer said. “Let the districts decide what we need.”

Elected officials and teachers union leaders who supported the protesters' cause were also in Hempstead. 

“A tax cap will hurt the schools if the main issues are not addressed,” said Cynthia Di Miceli, a West Hempstead Board of Education member. “Addressing the main cost drivers within a school district would be a better strategy.”

Added Andy Pallotta, executive vice president of the New York State United Teachers, "The governor talks about a knowledge-based economy. You can't cut the schools at its knees and expect a knowledge-based economy in New York State.”

An tUasal Airgead April 05, 2011 at 03:01 AM
As far as the number of schools and the percentage of dollars going to what … according to the TOH Budget, the Schools and Libraries account for 68% of the Property Tax Bill and we know that must be right because the TOH is NEVER wrong about anything! http://townofhempstead.org/media/tb/prelimbudget11.pdf
An tUasal Airgead April 05, 2011 at 03:01 AM
From a 2009 report on consolidation (and other suggestions for L.I. Schools.) We keep saying that Long Island has 125 school districts. But: • In discussing results on achievement exams, we refer only to the 124 school districts that include all or some of Grades K–12. • The 125th, Little Flower, is a “Special Act Public School” established to provide educational services to residents of the Little Flower Residential Treatment Center. • When we refer to state financing, we count 121 districts. New Suffolk, Sagaponack, and Wainscott are too small to receive state funding; Little Flower receives its funding through different mechanisms. • Three districts are high school only: Bellmore-Merrick, Sewanhaka, and Valley Stream. Eleven elementary school only districts feed these high school districts. Another eight districts are also elementary only, and an additional five are elementary and middle school only. http://www.longislandindex.org/fileadmin/Reports_and_Maps/Index_Reports/2009_LI_Index/2009_Special_Analysis.pdf
An tUasal Airgead April 05, 2011 at 03:02 AM
Common School Districts represent the original type of school district. Today there are only 11 left in New York State, four of them on Long Island. By law, they may not operate high schools, and therefore must contract with neighboring districts to provide secondary education. Ninety-seven of our districts, 78%, are Union Free School Districts. This indicates that they were formed from the “union” of multiple common school districts, “free” from the restrictions that had barred them from operating high schools. Central School Districts are the most common type in New York State, but only 22 are found on Long Island. These were formed through the consolidation of common, union free, and/or central school districts. In general the laws governing their structure are the same as union free school districts. We have three Central High School Districts, which provide secondary education to students in two or more common or union free districts. We have two City School Districts: Glen Cove and Long Beach. http://www.longislandindex.org/fileadmin/Reports_and_Maps/Index_Reports/2009_LI_Index/2009_Special_Analysis.pdf
Winston April 23, 2011 at 07:19 PM
So teachers and union officials are marching in protest against needed cuts in Education, and the Patch fails to ask Cynthia De Miceli, a Board of Education member a followup question regarding what she is referring to when she says that the strategy shlou;ld be to address main cost drivers. It seems to me that Adina Genn and the Patch are in bed with the school teachers and unions and against the taxpayer with biased reporting.
Whistleblower April 23, 2011 at 08:59 PM
The 192M in the 2011 budget vote is being represented as a 1.86% increase over last years budget, however this is really misleading. What the School District doesn’t want you to know (they don’t show it in the posted budget) is that they only spent 168,895,296 of the budget and moved $17,495,551 to reserves which now total $32,869,582. So the 168M was actual and the 186M was the forecast, therefore the School is asking for $22M more in this years budget than they spent last year which is an increase of over 14%. These accounting tricks were brought to us by none other than Carole Hankin, of Cendant accounting fraud fame, and illegal in the private sector. See: http://money.cnn.com/2000/04/05/companies/cendant/ So when anyone is concerned about a NO vote meaning we have no money for the kids, think again. We have 32M in reserves even if we go to Contingency. All this information can be found at LICARE.org Syosset Central School District 2010 186,390,847 Budget 168,895,296 actual expense last year (17,495,551) moved to reserves 32,869,582 total reserves

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