To the Editor:
This letter is in response to the articles regarding budget cuts to the high schools (“Major cuts in store for high schools,” Feb. 14-20. “Community fights for sports,” Feb. 21-27). I am an accountant and work on budgets in my current job. Has the Board of Education considered imposing activity-based fees to the high school families that use the after school and bus services? A number of school districts have started imposing nominal fees to help defray the costs of sports programs and busing. These fees keep the programs in place, and do not increase school taxes to the community.
I would much prefer to pay a $150 transportation fee to have my son on a yellow school bus than to have bus transportation eliminated. This proposed transportation fee would include all families using the buses, both public and private schools, to close the budget shortfall.
I would also think that the bowling team families would prefer to pay an activity fee of $50 rather than have the bowling team eliminated. These activity-based fees would have to be kept at a minimum cost as not to impose a burden on families, but yet include all of the sports teams to close the budget shortfall.
The fees I have mentioned are just estimates. The district accountants will be able to calculate what amount will close the deficit and keep the sports teams and school busing in place.
I hope that the board members and Dr. Heidenreich will consider this revenue-generating alternative as they work on finalizing the school budget over the next couple of weeks.
Mary Rose Bosko
To the Editor:
I am writing in regard to your article written in the Herald (“Major cuts in store for high schools,” Feb. 14-20) concerning the school budget for the Valley Stream Central High School District. In particular, cuts being made to buses traveling to Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and Chaminade in Uniondale.
Taxpaying residents whose children attend private school and don’t necessarily attend one of these two schools are up in arms, as am I, whose twin daughters attend Sacred Heart Academy. Most importantly, I don’t believe the district takes into account the safety and security of its students traveling to and from school, particularly young girls, who may appear vulnerable. Public transportation is really not an option for my girls since it would take two buses, with the transfer point being in an unsafe area and the scheduling inconsistent, taking upwards of 1½ hours to get to a school that is only 15 minutes from my home.
I question whether Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich and his staff would want it on their conscience if even one Valley Stream student were attacked because they proposed to eliminate private-school buses in the budget. Personally, I am embarrassed to let anyone know what I pay in school taxes, contributing to these enormous salaries but not receiving proper transportation for my daughters.
I think the Central High School District needs to look into other areas to cut, namely costs to transport their sports teams to and from Firemen’s Field, which I know costs a hefty sum. They also need to do a more thorough examination of students attending the schools, particularly those who attend illegally. The cost of these students can add up at our expense.
I have written letters to Dr. Heidenreich, Dr. Loper, the assistant superintendent, and the entire Board of Education, and alerted the principals at both Sacred Heart Academy and Chaminade. Sacred Heart leaders responded that they will be looking into this. Naturally, they are concerned, as are all the private schools in Nassau County, about keeping admissions up, and my concern is for the future of these schools if all districts start following suit. I really don’t believe this is the way the budget should go. In fact, parents sending their child to a private institution are saving money for their district, and the district is receiving is free money to utilize in its budget.
Jo-Ann M. Roche