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Patch Places Focus on School Elections

Community asked to send in their thoughts on the budgets, to be highlighted in a Patch-based forum.

Climbing education costs and shrinking state aid has forced school districts across Long Island to adopt tough budgets for the 2011-2012 school year. And in the month leading up to the May 17 vote, communities must decide whether to pass these budgets, as well as elect the school board leaders who will manage the effects of program cuts and layoffs.

These are significant decisions.

As part of a month-long series on how the proposed school budgets and upcoming school board elections are affecting locals, Patch is looking for outspoken members of the community to share their thoughts leading up to the May 17 vote.

For example, is your child an athlete whose sport will disappear next year? Let us know how you feel. Are you an elderly resident struggling to pay high taxes, even though you have no children in the district? What are your thoughts on the budget?

At the same time, we’d love to hear from parents who just can’t fathom how one of their child’s favorite teachers will be laid off, parents who send their kids to private school and still have to pay public school taxes, past students who can’t believe the extra-curricular programs that played such a huge role in their lives will be gone and current students facing a 2011-2012 school year without those programs that are important to them.

Chances are you’ve seen Patch editors and reporters at the school board meetings and budget workshops in the past weeks. At those meetings, we are always speaking to community members who come out to take part in the public forums. But there are thousands of community members with important viewpoints who have missed the meetings.

As an online resource, Patch.com has unlimited space to display viewpoints from community members. If you have something to say, we’ve got the platform to make sure your voice is heard.

To participate, call or send an email to the local editor of your neighborhood Patch - their name and picture is in the upper left corner of the homepage.

In the weeks ahead, Patch.com will roll out a series of stories on how the community is reacting to the proposed budgets. We will break them down so community members can plainly see what the districts are proposing, we will measure reactions from the powerful parents groups in the districts and we will highlight the hot topics driving the debates, whether it be the loss of favorite sports programs, cuts to arts and academics or proposed salary freezes for teachers. In the end, there isn’t an angle we’ll miss.

The various Patch sites across Long Island will also publish a slate of multimedia reports focused on the community members running for school board seats, complete with bios and talking points from the candidates so locals can make educated decisions when they turn out to vote in a month.

And, as always, if there are any other angles you feel we should be covering, let us know.

KingsParkKid April 20, 2011 at 02:42 PM
Concerned Citizen, " darn immigrants that want to get educated in the U.S and then steal our jobs." Really? REALLY?!?!?!?! statements like this. thats all i have to say.
Vito April 20, 2011 at 02:49 PM
I don't disagree with what you say Bob and may very well cast the same vote as you. I have just been around long enough to see that the no votes don't ever result in the meaningful changes we really need and have needed for years and in a short time we are in the exact same situation. If all the people who rise up at budget vote time stayed active in their school district and forced changes when it actually meant something, maybe we could really do something. Sadly, by the time we get to vote a very small portion of the budget is up for debate or change.
Matt April 20, 2011 at 02:59 PM
A 1.83% tax increase for the Northport East Northport. UFSE’ school budget isn't that bad, right? So how would you feel if you knew the increase was actually... 13.5%?! • Based on the 2/28/1 1 budget memo,the district anticipates total expenditures for the 2010-2011 school year to be $133,556,516. ($4m LESS than 2009-2010 actual expenditures). • That’s $14.6 million ! than the adopted budget for 2010-201 1 and $1 &million less than the proposed budget for 2011-2012. • So, we’re spending $133.5m THIS year and the Board is asking us to approve a budget for $151.5m for Next year. That’s a 13.5% increase! THE BOARD OF EDUCATION TOLD THE TAXPAYERS THAT A “0” TAX INCREASE WAS NOT POSSIBLE. THEY'VE REPEATEDLY TOLD THE COMMUNITY THAT MONEY IS TIGHT AND THERE’S NO ROOM FOR A TAX BREAK. Oh, really? Should we approve a budget that’s $18 million, or 13.5% MORE than this year’s expenses? YOU BE THE JUDGE! VOTE on MAY 1 7th and let your voice be heard! See WWW.LICARE.ORG for more information. This is a new blog I've come across, seems pretty informative. Could this be a new taxed based organization in the N-ENC? This would be great news
Chuck April 20, 2011 at 03:29 PM
Let's stop arguing with eahc other, and give Patch what it asked for; budget stories to write about. Henry, I for one would like you to get to the bottom of this $13.5 million penalty Smithtown has been fined, it's effect on the budget, and Supt. Ehmann's role in it. Please look into this with the Board and NYSED Dept. and give Patch readers the truth. Thank you form your consideration.
Henry Powderly April 20, 2011 at 03:43 PM
Chip, Thank you. Our story on Smithtown Patch tomorrow will hash out the state aid situation in Smithtown, since it has clearly become a hot topic in the district this budget season.

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