A Network Connecting School Leaders From Around The Globe
May 26, 2011
I am dismayed and deeply disappointed at the State Assembly's proposal for a property tax cap ["Deal on property tax cap 2%," News, May 25].
Last week, voters in the Longwood community passed a budget that reflected a 3.95 percent increase in the tax levy. This, despite dramatic cuts in programs; this, despite a reduction of nearly 100 staff members; and this, despite concessions from our employee bargaining units, all of which resulted in a 1.25 percent decrease in our spending plan for next year. The increase in the tax levy is directly related to the $7-million reduction in aid from New York State to Longwood's schools projected for 2011-12, and which is layered on diminishing support from the state over the past three years.
If the tax cap being proposed had been in place this year, the result could have been an additional $4 million in reductions to programs and staff. Under that scenario, I do not believe we would be able to provide the educational programs our community has come to expect and that our kids deserve. Certainly, they would not be the programs that would prepare our students for the economic recovery of our state and our nation, or propel our nation's position in the world. Nor would they be programs that would maintain the ranking of New York's public schools as second in the nation by Education Week's Quality Counts 2011 Report. No, we are not 34th, as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo would have you believe.
Allan Gerstenlauer, Middle Island
Editor's note: The writer is the superintendent of the Longwood Central School District.