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Tax Cap vs. School Cuts

Massapequa school officials say that the state tax cap law will will cause the elimination of teaching jobs, are lower taxes worth it?

Officials in the have been consistently making the same argument throughout budget season.

They blame New York State's new two percent tax cap law, for bringing about the elimination of jobs.

The district the elimination of teacher positions later this week.

Because school districts will be responsible for pension costs and other mandates, they say it will be more difficult to stay under the cap over the next few years, unless there's some kind of mandate relief.

In the meantime there will be cuts.  

But the tax cap was designed to ease the growing costs of living in areas like Long Island. So we want to know what your thoughts are  on the issue.  

Should taxes be lowered, even at the expense of school cuts?

Take our poll below , and weigh in with your comments.

Mass Mom March 12, 2012 at 04:48 PM
As of Friday about 30 teachers given pink slips....now that mean more kids per class..AGAIN who suffers, our kids...
Diana Hibbard LoCascio March 12, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I'd like to be certain that administration feels equal pain from the cuts. If a percentage of teachers are being cut, then an equal percentage of administrators or administrator's pay should be cut. Why should the teachers be the only ones that ever get hurt in a poor economy? If we are cutting the fat, then why not eliminate the highest paying jobs? Consolidate administration duties wherever possible.
Don Von March 12, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I'll tell you who ISN'T suffering... If cutting that many teachers was the first impulse, it gives you an idea of their mindset. What happens to the local economy if each school district cuts 40-50 (or more) jobs at the same time? Count the number of mortgages that might default, the unemployment claims, families in trouble, and so on. I was hoping to get more solutions than just cutting teachers and blaming the governor and local legislators. I'm sure they're just buying time to figure out how to save themselves. There are options other than high taxes OR keeping teachers in the classrooms. Consolidate and then consolidate some more.
John Rennhack March 13, 2012 at 12:03 AM
This years budget will be a cake-walk compared to next year. That's when the county guarantee is gone and the school districts in Nassau have to come up with the money for property tax refunds. Either tax increases like never before or a slash and burn cut through personnel and programs.
FJDietz March 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Here are 2 actions the government needs to take to save taxpayers money with respect to public schools. (1) Consolidate schools districts to cut down on the number of administrators and buildings needed. It is ridiculous that such a small area as Nassau Country needs so many school districts. The entire state of Hawaii which has a total land area larger than Connecticut is just one school district. (2) Establish class room sizes in terms of the number of students per teacher - for example a kindergarten class may have 18 students while a 7th grade class may have 25 students. By doing this you establish an objective and flexible way of managing teaching staff size. With this, you establish size of administrative staff too (for example for every 10 teachers there will be only one administrative staff). I don't know what the ratios of class size to teacher or teacher to administrator should be; this is something to be determined by the school boards. Something needs to be done because right now homeowners are drowning in high taxes and we are fed up.
Bill Bix March 13, 2012 at 01:03 PM
We all see what is coming down the road, but who exactly are we relying upon to make these changes? Most people are either too busy to get involved or they have no idea what is going on until it's too late. I think the tax cap is good in that it will shake up the rusty structure of these school districts, but it will be a messy process ... and the kids might get caught in the process. I can't say I'm that comfortable with such a small group of people deciding what will happen to the taxes (and value) of the entire town. We all need to pitch in - and that includes figuring out how to pool resources and find solutions to these issues.
RoBuSt! March 13, 2012 at 01:46 PM
The ones who hurt in this are the kids! We pay high taxes for our children to have a good education in a good school district. Over sizing the classroom is not the solution. I would not want our schools to end up like NYC! Keep the teachers just pay them a more reasonable salary. We need to stoP the lavish pay throught Nassau & the toP executives need a major Pay reduction
FJDietz March 13, 2012 at 02:16 PM
RoBuStl - Where did you hear or read that anybody was proposing "over-sizing the classroom" as a solution to the high cost of Nassau schools?? Please provide your citations for this.
Bill Bix March 13, 2012 at 02:33 PM
FJ- I don't think its a big leap or complex math to expect larger classes after cutting so many teachers. There's no way around it.
FJDietz March 13, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Of course there is a way around larger class sizes. You save money by consolidating school districts which results in the elimination of redundant administrative positions and redundant buildings. You set class room size standards. Excess teachers in one school can be redeployed to schools that are short of teachers. It is not like you are asking a redundant teacher to commute to New Jersey for a job - after all Nassau County is relatively small.
Karen Stone March 13, 2012 at 03:58 PM
It's a great idea but towns have different names for a reason. Some districts could probably combine. They need similar economics and populations. I'm from Seaford - but I would guess that most Pequans wouldn't want to merge schools. That is a good goal but we could probably use some help much sooner. The least the administration could do is kick in their fair share. Teachers should be the last to go.
FJDietz March 13, 2012 at 04:08 PM
If the savings from combining 30 plus school districts into say 6 districts is significant I would imagine taxpayers would be in favor of doing this. I agree, school teachers should be the last to have to be let go for $ savings since there are so many opportunities in other places that would not have much impact on students.
Diana Hibbard LoCascio March 13, 2012 at 05:20 PM
You'll notice that whenever there is a budget crisis, the first thing they do is cut the teachers. I hardly ever hear of actual administration cuts. It is always the teachers that get hit first. People gripe about their salaries, but you could keep 2-3 teachers for each administration job. If each administrator kicked in $10k in salary, many jobs could be saved. I also bet if we looked at how much sports cost the district, we could find some money there. I think we need sports programs but perhaps their budgets are a little fatter than most.
Diana Hibbard LoCascio March 13, 2012 at 05:23 PM
It would also save big money if we stuck with a math program and kept textbooks more than a few years. It seems like there is often new ways of doing the same thing and the only difference is the money going to more training and purchasing of materials. Math, reading, etc... do not change that much that we need to keep reinventing the wheel. Update the science and history classes to keep current, but quit spending so much so often on the rest.
Joseph D. Marsh March 15, 2012 at 02:30 PM
The enrollment in our district is going down - and has been for several years - so reducing the number of teachers is a logical step in the process. This move might result in a one-person increase in class size, in a relatively small number of classes - which is far from "over-sizing the classroom".
Joseph D. Marsh March 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Diana, we spend ~$1.2MM on athletics in the district. Given the sheer number of kids and types of sports, I'm highly skeptical of the notion that there's much, if any, "fat" in the sports budget. Remember, that's $1.2MM out of a $180MM budget ...

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