Dr. Anael Alston: Long Island the the NY State 2% Tax Cap


Long Island Schools and the New York State 2% Tax Cap,
with Dr. Anael Alston, Educator

Long Island is a place where high performing public schools have been, are and must remain enduring priorities for our communities. Long Island's reputation for top public schools derives from local school districts serving a supportive and demanding public. But let's look at the schools in our region as if we were a state.

If Long Island were a state...we would be ranked #1 in the nation in High School Completion Rate. We would be ranked #1 in the nation in Intel Semifinalists. We would be ranked #2 in the nation in the number of Siemens Semifinalists, just 2 students less than the entire state of California.

Also, 54 Long Island high schools ranked in the top 7% of high schools in the nation by The Washington Post and 158 Long Island students were named 2012 National Merit Semifinalists.

The imposition of the 2% tax cap on school revenues now severely hinders the ability of local taxpayers to continue to bear the burden of our quality public schools and the educational impacts are beginning to emerge. Schools across the socio-economic spectrum are reporting the elimination of full-day Kindergarten, larger class sizes, fewer AP courses, fewer electives and after school offerings to name a few. This year, one school district is laying off 90 teachers.

Friends, the ability to sustain all that make our schools exemplary is eroding. We need to closely analyze the long term impact of a tax cap of states like Massachusetts and California where tax caps have been in place for a while to see if our tax cap is a viable solution to long term value. We might also ask ourselves the question: Should schools and municipalities be able to set cost levels in accordance with the level of excellence that the local vote clearly supports, or should the legislature make that decision for us?

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