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Plainview May Be Spared Budget Pain

As districts around Long Island struggle, Plainview proposes modest budget hike, avoids most cuts.

The story on Long Island this spring has been about and voter anger.

But the Pcould sidestep these woes Tuesday if voters choose to accept a proposed $134 million budget, a fiscal plan representing a modest 2.5 percent increase in spending.

The polls open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at three district school buildings: , Old Bethpage School and

Voters must also decide between three candidates vying for two open trustee positions on the Board of Education. The choices are incumbents and and challenger

Despite major cuts to state aid to school districts, Plainview's budget represents a $3.3 million increase in overall spending. Some Long Island districts are proposing double-digit percentage increases.

Through a variety of factors, including transportation savings and planned use of its reserve fund, Plainview school officials say educational programs will not be cut and staff reductions have been kept to a minimum. Class sizes will be maintained and the district's "smart board" program will continue.

 The district will actually be adding a guidance counselor and American Sign Language program at the High School. The district has cut a handful of positions tied to declining enrollment and temporary positions, said Gary Bettan, the school board president.

On their web site, Plainview officials said the district has enacted "greater efficiencies, cost-reduction plans, and the strategic use of reserve funds."

Transportation costs have actually been reduced by more than $250,000 through new routing and other efficiencies. An energy efficiency program is paying dividends, and ongoing in-house maintenance programs are keeping renovation costs down.

This year's budget is the third in a row that will be presented to the public with less than a 3 percent increase in spending. The tax levy is just under 3 percent.

In the school board election, incumbents Lieberman (24 years on the board) and Bernstein (seven years) pointed to their experience and longstanding commitment to students and fiscal responsibility. 

Challenger Mazzocchi, who has been active in community sports, has argued the district's facilities have been neglected and are in need of attention and that the district could raise its standards.

To see all three of the candidate's position statements,

 


Charlie Mazzocchi May 16, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Unfortunately this article does not state the reality of the situation in our schools. During Meet the Candidates Night held last week the incumbents advised all who attended that $70 Million dollars in infrastructure repairs are currently required in our schools at this time. The repairs are being prioritized as we do not have the funds available to do necessary repairs. Our district has $21 Million dollars of current bond debt outstanding (NYS Department of Education). While all this is happening, the incumbents approved significant increases to the Teachers Union (available to the public at http://seethroughny.net/) . Per the incumbents "we had surplus budget money available and believed this was the right thing to do". Please explain how this is fiscally responsible? It's time for change. Our test scores are declining (NYS School Report) . Our schools are in desperate need of repair and we need accountability from all employed by our district from the Administration down. Our students deserve better. The taxpayers of our community deserve better. I am running for our School Board because I have a strong desire and the wherewithal to improve things for our children and our community. Charlie Mazzocchi

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