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.