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Superintendents to Mangano: restore youth funding
Deirdre Krasula/Herald
Al Harper, Elmont’s superintendent, spoke outside Gateway Youth Outreach.

Since Elmont elementary schools opened their doors in September for the start of the school year, most of the students in the districts’ six buildings have had nowhere to go when the school day’s final bell rings.

In July, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced that youth service agencies would no longer receive funding from the county. Gateway Youth Outreach in Elmont used that funding to provide after-school programs for district children.

On Oct. 2, school superintendents from across Nassau County gathered outside Gateway’s offices and called on Mangano to reinstate the programs’ funding. Administrators from Elmont, Long Beach, Great Neck, Massapequa, Mineola, Uniondale and Westbury said they fear that their students are turning into latchkey youth, with many elementary school-age children forced to go home to an empty house after school and spend hours unsupervised. The superintendents also said they were afraid that some older students would get into trouble on the streets.

“We’re here to give voice to the students that don’t really have a voice,” Long Beach Superintendent David Weiss said at the gathering.

“It wasn’t just the agencies that were affected,” added Peter Levy, president of the Coalition of Nassau County Youth Agencies. “It was tens of thousands of children.”

Elmont Superintendent Al Harper stressed the value of Gateway and organizations like it to the community. Gateway provided support for parents, many of whom work more than one job and late hours to make ends meet, Harper said. “Gateway Youth Outreach provides that support,” he said. “We need it back.”

Teachers and principals have found more students waiting at least an hour after school for a parent or guardian to pick them up, Harper said. Members of the school staff must be on hand to watch children who are waiting for rides, which takes teachers away from lesson planning and becomes an added cost to the district.


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Mr. Harper if you think the youth program should be reinstated, take the extra monies you have in your budget to bring back the program. One thing we as taxpayers do not want is, for teachers to become baby sitters for these kids, Parents shouild not depend on youth programs to baby sit their children. Parents need to be more involved with their children. This is rediculous and does not make sense. We do not have the funds, so we cannot have the programs that we are used to having. Times do change and we must prepare to take the correct action. The correct action is not to have youth programs to act as parents baby sitters. The district should have after school programs run by the school district and they have the resources for this. We pay a lot of $ in school taxes and anyone that thinks otherwise can come and pay mine. Mr. Harper for your salary, you should donate part of your salary to fund the youth programs. That you won't do. So don't ask for additional funds, since you busted the 2% cap. Where did that extra money go? It was a bad choice to have Mr. Harper for superintendent, he just likes to spend, spend and keep spending $ the residents do not have and cannot afford. CONSOLIDATE MR. HARPER AND YOU WILL HAVE PLENTY OF $, BELIEVE ME. BE A FISCAL RESPONSIBLE SUPERINTENDENT. All the people in the photo look very concerned, but would any of them say, how about some consolidation, no way. REALLY, WHAT IS WRONG WITH CONSOLIDATION?

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