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Sunday, August 31, 2014
Valley Stream schools to state: Help us out
(Page 2 of 3)
Andrew Hackmack/Herald
Ingrid Wylie ran the Legislative Breakfast, introducing all speakers and moderating a question and answer session.
Larry Trogel, a District 24 and high school board member, said that those two districts combined will get about $24,000 a year in aid to implement federal Race to the Top regulations, yet the costs will be in the six figures. The difference will come from the local taxpayers at the expense of programs. “We should have thumbed our nose at that money and went on our way,” he said.

High School District Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich told officials that cuts are necessary because of insufficient state aid and rising mandate costs. He said the district is in a prolonged period of financial stress, and much of the “low hanging fruit” has already been picked, leaving little left to cut without hurting students.

“Resources are disappearing, class sizes are rising, teachers are being let go, opportunities for students are being reduced and the way in which we deliver transportation is being changed,” Heidenreich said. “It’s starting to hurt. Our students will have fewer opportunities than those who came before them.”

A proposed change to provide students attending several private schools with MetroCards for MTA bus transportation instead of school buses was a major topic of discussion, as it was at the high school district’s board meeting five days earlier. Virginia Clavin-Higgins, a village trustee and parent of three students enrolled in Catholic school, lambasted the plan.

She pointed to a comment made my the school district’s attorney at the board meeting that safety didn’t have to be considered when determining private school transportation options. “It’s so disagreeable in this day and age that they don’t have to consider safety,” she said, calling on lawmakers to hold districts accountable and pass legislation that would change this practice.

Carrié Solages said he has concerns with safety on the Nassau Intercounty Express bus system and is pushing for changes as a legislator.

Becker said that private school families don’t ask for much from the public schools and should be entitled to reliable transportation. He urged state lawmakers and school officials to find solutions more amenable to private school families.
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