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Ford: Cuomo’s School Aid Cuts Unacceptable

Denise Ford
Denise Ford
(The following is a letter that Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) sent to resident of Island Park School District. A number of Island Park students attend Long Beach High School.)

Dear Island Park School District Resident:

As your County Legislator, I was outraged to learn that the state school aid for Island Park Schools will be cut 7% in Governor Cuomo’s proposed budget.
After the devastation we all suffered from Hurricane Sandy, our schools are barely operational. One building remains closed for repairs for the next nine months. The other, which previously housed 325 students, now has 730 and is overcrowded. Our village was devastated. The public library building that the district also owns suffered severe damage and is not operational. All in all, we estimate the damage to the buildings to be $4.5 million, with only $3.5 million covered by insurance and FEMA--leaving a minimum of $1 million in financial burden for taxpayers (possibly more when a final damage assessment is complete). How can they possible afford this?

Eighty-percent of the homes in Island Park were severely damaged by Sandy, with 1,000 homes losing their first floor living space, which means they must be re-built from the ground up. Like the school District, many families do not have sufficient coverage from insurance or FEMA money.

Rebuilding is not our only expense. Other expenses resulting from Sandy include transportation for students living within a fifty-mile radius of the school. Under the current state law, the district must transport students from as far east as Seldon, Long Island and as far west as Brooklyn-costing taxpayers an additional $40,000 a month since we were devastated by Sandy.

In his budget, Governor Cuomo proposed to increase overall school aid statewide by 3%, yet aid to Island Park is being cut 7%, more than any other district on Long Island. In addition, schools in communities similar to ours  have seen their state aid  increase by as much as 8%.

These state formulas do not take into account the economic and income status of the Village of Island Park, nor do they recognize how much our home values have plummeted in the aftermath of Sandy.

We are in a very precarious position. Island Park Superintendent, Dr. Rosmarie Bovino, has indicated to me that the loss of this aid, $127,196 in total, will in fact be even greater when property tax assessments are reduced as a result of Sandy and thus, property tax revenues will plummet.

This unfair reduction in state aid is based on nothing more than an antiquated formula that needs to be reexamined. I am calling on Governor Cuomo to immediately restore aid to Island Park Schools AND develop a new calculation for transportation aid that will compensate the district for the monies spent on students displaced by Sandy and living in outlying communities. I have contacted both Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg who have assured me that they will join me in our fight to obtain fairness for our school district.

I hope that you will join me and contact Governor Cuomo’s office to see that this inequity is corrected. Our legislators have promised to help us in this fight—it is one that we cannot and must not lose. Please call Governor Cuomo at (518) 474-8390 and tell him to change his school aid budget.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at 516 571 6204. Please get the word out to your neighbors so that we can all be united in this fight.

Yours truly,
Legislator Denise Ford
Jack February 04, 2013 at 05:18 PM
How about the LB and IP school districts make budget cuts to lower homeowners property taxes? NOOOOO, that would take money away from the teachers and supervisors who overload the schools!
Tideline February 04, 2013 at 06:06 PM
I have seen her in person and that looks nothing like her. Heavily air brushed ?
Jack February 04, 2013 at 06:38 PM
Worry about our taxes first and not the photo.
Elliot Zuckerman February 05, 2013 at 06:45 AM
I know and highly respect her for all she has done, she cares about the people of LB.when will you all stop bashing people that do, in fact when was the last time all you big mouths provided anything beside knocking on the patch?
Love This City February 05, 2013 at 08:16 AM
In Long Beach the newly hired assistant of superintendent for curriculum, if receiving the same compensation as his predecessor, is making over $180,000 - seems like in Long Beach if the position was not filled it would've helped with these new cuts.... time to grow up and make some adult decisions, the days of bloated school administrations has to end....
Leonard Bauman February 05, 2013 at 09:49 AM
Long Beach City School Board open your ears-- the taxpayers cannot pay you one more penny this year. We are maxed out paying taxes, fixing our homes, paying hotel and rent bills, etc. Give us a 5% tax decrease if you care about us. Anything other than a tax decrease shows the School Board has a taxpayer be damned attitude! We the taxpayer will take over the school board if that is the case and cut all your frills and overpaid administrators and teachers out of the budget. Get it school board???
rss February 05, 2013 at 01:09 PM
While complaining about Albany cuts is good, I wish Denise Ford would also focus her efforts on something that she herself can actually do to help both Island Park and Long Beach schools in this difficult time. A few years ago, Denise Ford voted with the republican majority for the elimination of the "County Guarantee" and for the implementation of a new county sewer tax on schools. The elimination of the guarantee starts this year, and well as the sewer tax. Island Park School District has had to aside at least $100k for these new costs imposed by the County, and Long Beach School District much more that. Why can't Denise Ford make an effort to try to convince her friends Ed Mangano and the republican majority, to at least stay these new burdens for a few years while the school districts rebuild??
Annette M La Salle February 09, 2013 at 05:49 PM
i happen to know denise ford personally whats with comments about her looks shes beatufil inside and ou

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