Valley Stream schools to state: Help us out

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Decisions on transportation, as well as sports, extra-curricular activities and other non-mandated programs are ultimately up to local school officials, Skelos explained. However, he said state lawmakers would do their best to come up with the necessary funding to preserve these opportunities.

Iadevaio asked for a possible exclusion to the tax cap that would allow transportation costs to be exempted from the tax levy limit. Skelos said that lawmakers would look into it, but said such a change is doubtful. The tax cap, Skelos said, is the governor’s major policy issue and Cuomo is adverse to adding any more exclusions. “To be very honest, there are probably hundreds of exclusions that people are looking for from the property tax cap,” Skelos said. “I don’t see that happening.”

The tax cap is not the problem, Curran explained, adding that it is necessary to control property taxes so people can stay in their homes. He cited the high rate of foreclosures as the main reason tax relief is needed. However, Curran did say that state government needs to adequately fund public schools on Long Island. He said that the region educates 18 percent of the state’s students, but gets only 12 percent of aid. Closing that gap, he said, would end these conversations about cuts. “That’s where we have to fight,” he said. “That’s the hard fight. That’s the fight we have to be unified in and that’s what we have to bring to the governor.”

Trogel said that Long Island pays much more in taxes to the state than it gets back. He agreed that getting its fair share of aid could fix a lot of problems. “We could get chaperones and limousines for the private school children if you give use back what we’re paying,” he told lawmakers. “Give use what we pay.”

About the breakfast

The 17th annual Legislative Breakfast was hosted by the Valley Stream Council of PTAs, a collection of PTA members from the community’s 14 public schools. This year’s moderator was Ingrid Wylie, a District 30 resident and second vice president of the council. Breakfast was provided by students from Central High School’s Culinary Arts program.

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