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Letter: Proposed School Taxes Hike Not Acceptable

Robert from Port Jeff Station says that spending more on schools and raising taxes is not helping kids in Port Jefferson Station

The proposed school levy increase of 7.3 percent is a disgrace. To think that during a time of such economic strain on the average household, the administration and teachers union, have the guts to try and raise taxes by approximately 10 percent. For me and many people this represents a near $800 per year increase in property taxes.

Senior Citizens in our town have not seen an increase in their Social Security for over two years. Many people in the private sector have had stagnant or diminishing wages as a result of the economic recession. Many have lost their jobs. Foreclosures are up in Port Jefferson Station vs. 2007. Can these people afford a ~10 percent increase in taxes? Absolutely not. Are we going to take food out of the mouths of seniors and the unemployed? Life saving medicines away from them too?

There are people in PJS that want you to believe that voting “yes” to the proposed budget increase is somehow, “for the kids”. This of course is a straw man argument because by opposing the increase, I am somehow against kids? Of course not, instead I am for sanity. If increasing taxes somehow increased results, I would have a no argument. But that is simply not true. In fact many districts in New York State perform better than Comsewogue while spending less per student.

The truth is that it’s not about the kids and it hasn’t been for decades. The public school system in New York State has attained a 75 percent increase in their budgets over the past decade, when inflation was only 35 percent. Are the kids any better off? No. In fact they are worse off. Can these same kids afford to start a life in Port Jefferson Station? Can they afford a home in the area? Can they afford to start a business? No. No. No.

In fact 65 percent of Long Islanders under 18- 35 plan to leave Long Island during the next 5 years. What good is this so called “great education” if the children cannot come back and contribute to the local economy? The fact is that the only people who benefit from this tax increase are the teachers, the administration and the unions.

While most of us in the private sector have 401Ks, and contribute 60  to 70 percent to these retirement plans, teachers get taken care of to the grave with their outrageous pensions while contributing only 5 percent annually. While most of us in the private sector spend 25 percent on our family’s healthcare, teachers spend 10 percent. Administrators? Don’t get me started.

We need to do what our New Jersey brothers have done. We need to speak loudly with one voice that the status quo is not good enough. We need to stand together and oppose this oppressive taxation and demand pension and benefit reform now!

That is the only way our kids will be able to live their lives on Long Island or in Port Jefferson Station. Because making it harder for our kids to begin their lives here in Port Jefferson Station is not in their best interest.

Robert from Port Jefferson Station

Rob May 13, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Taxpayers are not represented during the teachers contract negotiations. The teachers union, get candidates elected by donating vast sums of money to their campaigns, then those same elected officials are charged with the negotiation. In essence this is what's wrong with public schools.
Crissy May 13, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Sure it is easy to spend hours on the internet and look up numbers and sit there and say "BAD, GREEDY TEACHERS!". How about you walk a few months in the shoes of a teacher. One that gets to work an hour early to plan, works through their lunch, then spends another hour or two once they get home to plan and grade papers for the next day. Not to mention having to deal with the stress of having to control, console, mentor, discipline, and mediate for the 25+ kids all by ourselves plus still teach, then re-teach two or three times the same skill because some poor child doesn't understand or just doesn't care because they are too over worked, then you can come to me and say I don't deserve my salary. Do I agree that some teachers and MANY administrators are in this for the money, but the truth is that the majority of the teachers are in it for the right reason because we care. I know I certainly do not do it for the money. I am a teacher and can barely pay my bills. I too can not afford the increase in taxes, but DO NOT SAY I DONT NOT DESERVE MY SALARY. Also I am sick of people who are NOT in the teaching field saying that if a teacher has tenure they have a job for life. Let me tell you something, We Don't! If an administrator wants a teacher out, trust me they know how to do it I have seen it happen in my school at least 3 times. Does something have to give, yes, but the answer is not just to cut teacher salaries. New York & America needs to have some respect for us teachers!!
Chris May 13, 2011 at 03:00 AM
Is $4,500 nothing to you? It certainly isn't to my family. I guess they should just take it back then, Oh but right that wouldn't make anybody happy either...problem is you give, you lose, you don't give you lose..... It's poor attitudes like yours that give out misinformation as well. Public employees are of course taxpayers, what a completely idiotic statement. It's also not compensation in the way you are implying, it is a salary for hard work. Your statement, (Rather than the taxpayer taking care of retired public employees until death, a novel idea would be to let those people take care of themselves.) your snarky attitude is that of oh the evil retired public employee should take care of themselves till death....it sounds like your so angry you are comparing a kindergarten teacher to a serial killer. Teachers worked HARD for 30+ years. if they didn't have there fantabulous pensions and benefits, how who they take care of themselves. OHHH I guess they wouldn't they would need social services to get involved and welfare and all those taxpayer programs. That would solve everything. Also where is your thesis or doctorate on test scores in the last 50 years, I would be interested in reading it.
Fred May 13, 2011 at 04:40 PM
I suppose teachers are the only ones that work hard in this country, the rest of us working 50+ hours in the private sector are just not as important. Bottom line its not a contest of who works more, or who "deserves" what since I never knew anyone who said they were overpaid, rather what the citizens can realistically afford. This 7.3% increase in unacceptable. If there was no give backs, there's no way this would pass. The teachers were promised no lay offs which is understandable, but is anyone promising no tax increase next year if this passes? These school boards are made of teachers and PTA moms who blindly throw money at everyone in the name of "education" . One final thought, what does a comparable teacher make at a private/catholic school? From what I understand its a fraction of their public school comrades.
Phil E. May 15, 2011 at 10:00 PM
Here is a way for most school distircts, including Commesogue to save many thousands and redirect those savings to educate our students and for relief to our own taxpayers. Since the local drug epidemic plays an expensive role in suspensions, home tutoring, summer school, counseling, and all the costs that go with it, maybe its time to step up to the plate and do what need to be done.

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