WYANDANCH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It’s decision day in school districts across Long Island.
As CBSN New York’s Jennifer McLogan found out Tuesday, there are some big-ballot questions that voters were expected to decided.
Voters across Nassau and Suffolk counties’ 124 public school systems are being urged to go to the polls to vote on school budgets, board members, and, in some cases, library taxes.
Hot-button issues is some districts include eliminating student bus rides and hiring armed security.
All but three of the Island’s districts are keeping tax proposals within limits set by New York’s tax cap law of 2 percent, though local districts can have individual caps.
Eastport -South Manor, Wainscott and Wyandanch are seeking to override their respective caps and raise taxes beyond the state-imposed limit. Wyandanch wants to boost taxation more than 40 percent — about $275 more per household per year.
“Everybody needs education. Kids are the future and stuff,” Wyandanch parent Christopher Jones said, adding when asked if it’s worth the extra $275, “That’s not bad. People waste money on a lot of stuff.”
“I think they need to reassess it. The budget is too high,” Wyandanch homeowner Stanley Williams said.
“It’s difficult because the schools do need the money, but we want to know where did the money go?” parent Jenelle Walter added.
Some complain it is the result of an incompetent and patronage-driven school board.
When asked if he’d like to see the state take over the school district in Wyandanch, homeowner Bobby Blassingame said, “Take over for a little while and reset the levy.”
If the budget fails Tuesday or in a re-vote, students face a year without sports, field trips, and after-school band.
Variables this year include the recent changes in federal law that curb deductions of local property taxes from federal income taxes and puts more of a burden on families.
In other areas, like Nassau County’s Five Towns, libraries are on the ballot. They are squeezed for space.
“We’ve been looking for the best setting that we could possibly get for our community,” Peninsula Public Library director Carolynn Matulewicz said. “This community definitely uses the library, one of the smallest in Nassau County and we are for the most part every month one of the busiest.”
Both the school board and library votes are crucial, said residents who support moving forward on a new Peninsula Public Library.
Patrons say make your vote count.