Another year, another Lindenhurst school budget vote has come and gone.
And on the heels of a $140.2 million and 6.89 percent tax-levy increase that was passed in by a very slim margin, this year’s $141.7 million and 2.45 percent tax-levy increase was passed on by a wider margin, but with an overall very low voter turnout.
(For more information about the budget's passage and to see the results of the school board election, click . To see the results of the latest Talk Back Poll gauging residents’ happiness with the vote, click .)
The budget process, the advent of the New York state tax cap - which was 3.55 percent for Lindenhurst - the budget’s passage on Tuesday and the low voter turnout stirred a lot of emotion and frustration as residents and readers of Lindenhurst Patch took to the site to comment and write opinion pieces, as well as to Facebook and Twitter.
However, the passion expressed by those for and against spilled into the workshops - though this year’s workshops weren’t as well attended as last year’s were, residents agreed.
And that led to frustration among those involved in the budget process - from residents and civic leaders to PTA parents and other school officials - who were appreciative of the community's feedback, but wished there was more they could do to get the community out to the public budget forums and out to vote - whether it was for or against.
Following the budget passage on Tuesday night there was much reaction.
Here’s what some Lindy residents and readers of Lindenhurst Patch had to say:
John Lisi: “As you know, I and others have gone out to the public with visits and written material in an effort to raise interest in the budget and voting process. Year after year our voter turnout becomes less and less. This year we might’ve set a record for the lowest voter turnout. And if it’s not the lowest, then it must be one of the lowest.
"This is appalling - apathy in the highest form. With approximately 25,000 voters, we get only 3,125 votes deciding on an important issue like our property taxes.
"The real question is what is driving the apathy? Is it disgust with the way we fund education and the lack of action by our legislators to change it? Feelings of hopelessness? Frustration with the teachers’ union? Lack of confidence in the board? Who knows? Nevertheless, it’s really sad to see this happen.”
Denis Garbo: “I wasn't surprised the budget passed. It was the smallest increase we've seen in recent memory. But even so it passed by less than the 60 percent that would’ve been required had the increase pierced the cap, and that should send a loud and clear signal to the board regarding future budgets.”
Laura Chapter: “My first reaction was surprise. I didn't think the budget would pass. Then it dawned on me that it was a great strategic move on the district’s part moving the polling locations to only elementary schools and having Spring exhibits there, too. That automatically got the yes voters out. Those yes voters in my opinion make their voting decision based on part truths.
“Most don't have in mind the full ramifications down the road. When I first became active in schools and started attending the budget process, what drove my voting decision was more out of scare tactics of what our kids would lose. And based on these election results I say nothing has changed.
“What I hope to see next is a process to get the community involved, informed and educated about the real issues that might save Long Island schools. As for as next year’s budget I’d personally like to see a true zero increase. Let's start with leading by example; show our unions we can make tough choices, so can they.”
Audrey Kogut: “Ridiculous...more taxes and it’s not going to children's education. Great with this economy and people out of work. Why not suck us dry?”
Kathy Chernick Yodice: “Where were all of the voters? Same story every year.”
VoiceForMyKid: “Although I for one am unhappy about the budget passing, I hope the 2.45 percent is indeed going toward the needs of our children and not just the needs of administration and TAL. This upcoming year will prove what real concessions that population will be willing to give back to our children.”
LindyDawg: “Like it or not the budget, as flawed as it is, has passed, and we’ll all pay our share to cover the gap between the money available and the money actually spent (that gap is $1.5 million).”
Patrick Connelly: “Well that leaves at least 1,286 people who aren’t happy with the passing budget….At least we 1,286 kept the increase as low as we could. How are senior citizens and people on a pension going to be able to pay these never-ending increases? It's going to come down to teaching the basics - math, science, English, social studies and the academics. Extracurricular, sports, music and drama are going to have to be eliminated or paid for by the parents.”
Trish: “The school system has been cut for several years in a row now - not good! I hold the school board responsible and the public that rarely goes to meetings. Then again this is a widespread problem across Long Island. Apathy breeds a slow decline of the schools.”
Ronald Rizzo: “All I have to say is that my children’s education is priceless, and proud to say I voted yes. If you don't agree with the job the Board of Education is doing, then get off your soapbox and run for a seat!”
(Remember: Receive breaking news and event reminders in your inbox or on your smartphone by signing up for Lindenhurst Patch's free newsletters and alerts here.)
Editor's Note: Don't forget to weigh in with your thoughts and concerns about this year's budget process for the with Lindenhurst Patch on the site by sharing your thoughts in the comments section of articles about the topic, and on Facebook and Twitter, and by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with an opinion piece.