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Fair,21°
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Concerns over transportation cuts
(Page 2 of 2)

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
Valley Stream

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ipinnaro

As a parent of a special needs child who was classified as a 12 month child meaning that they received school during the summer months I dont' understand the anger regarding transportation to non-school district high schools. Growing up in Queens and attending an accelerated academic program in Astoria - I at 12 years old was riding the subway from Jackson Heights to Astoria every day. My autistic daughter, at 12 was riding the Nassau County Bus from Fletcher Avenue to Ormonde Avenue every day during the summer session in order to continue to receive her academic services. My husband and I didn't do anything other than teach our child to ride the bus, require that she call or text us when she got on the bus, call or text us when she got off, and when she arrived home after walking ALONE from Merrick Road approximately 6 blocks to our home. Even as a special needs child we have alway encouraged the need to be independent and self-sufficient. While I understand that the Metrocard and riding the buses may not be the ideal for these kids or their parents, at some point, they are going to have to figure out how to take advantage of public transportation, and realize that it is not the powder keg of danger some of these parents are describing. While I do not agree with the budget cuts being proposed. I do not feel that the Metrocard option for these 90 students is bad one. What I find equally appalling is that fact that the budget proposes cutting two varsity teams (bowling and rifle) that are the ONLY co-ed teams in existence in the district. In addition, the rifle team is comprised of the 1 middle school and 3 high schools in the district - which has saved the district money over at least 10 years in maintaining only one range, instead of the 3 in existence. Rifle is also one of the only teams with members that go to the Junior Olympics, and can feed an Olympic team. The rifle team has an exemplary standing in the state, has members that have received FULL scholarships to military colleges (West Point, Anapolis, etc) as well as regular colleges, and has had no incidence of injury requiring the school district to pay for medical injuries - which cannot be said of football, lacrosse, or wrestling (as I witnessed first hand on Saturday 3/2 when a Memorial wrestling team member dislocated his elbow during his match). An ambulance was called, and the student was taken away - all at the district's expense! If we are to produce WELL ROUNDED individuals, not only faith can be encouraged. Respect for the opposite sex, pride in your school and team work, producing individuals who will respect and defend the Constitution and our country, and are capable and independent individuals is as important. The Metrocard solution enables the district to meet their obligations to the non-district student, as well as make room to hopefully maintain these teams. If it is completely unacceptable for these parents to let their high schoolers ride the public buses, and it is completely unacceptable to make other student suffer due to budget cuts, then we need to look at the blatant lack of sense regarding the salaries being paid to teachers in the district. In 2009 of the 549 teachers or adminstrators in the central high school district, 65% of them earned more than $110,000 (most in the $125K range - with the highest at $176K). In a school district where the median household income in 2009 was $80K that is excessive. Especially since I cannot see that the education my children have received comprised anything more than TEST PREP. Also, while we are informed that we need to cut costs, we have not been able to see a copy of the proposed budget to identify if the board of education for our district has developed a budget that meets the needs of the district. As the taxpayer, we should have the opportunity to review the budget and determine whether it in fact suits and meets those needs. There needs to be transparency and accountability by these adminstrators to us as the ones who pay their salaries, benefits, and fund their retirement. We need to unite and make the adminstration see that we are no longer going to accept as truth what is told to us, especially if they cannot produce the information to back up their statements. Too many discrepancies have been found only in the last few weeks to trust that there is not a problem - especially since there has not been a financial report done by the treasurer as we have not had one for 3 months at least! We need to keep asking questions, and requiring answers. And if we don't like the answers, we should act to have more control over how our money is spent.

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