The Village News: Letters to the Editor


Letters to the editor must be submitted via email and must include the author’s name, address, and daytime phone number so that Bellport.com can confirm the source of the submission. Letters can be up to 500 words in length and should be in good taste, not libelous, and not "Fake News." We expect our readers and their letters to be civil to one another and we expect them to remember that we are all friends and neighbors and to conduct themselves accordingly. If you'd like to submit a Letter to the Editor, send your letter to letters@bellport.com.

Letters are posted as soon as they are received, not just once a week, so check back often!

The purpose of Bellport.com's Letters To The Editor section is to encourage the free exchange of ideas and experiences in our community. However, the decision as to which letters to publish is solely at the discretion of the Editor. While Bellport.com and its staff try to make every effort to see that no libelous statements, inaccurate or misleading opinions or statements, or "Fake News" appears on Bellport.com we wish to make it clear that the opinions expressed in the letters, articles, correspondence, etc. herein are the responsibility of the contributor and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Bellport.com and its staff. Accordingly, Bellport.com and its staff accept no liability whatsoever for the consequences of any such inaccurate or misleading opinions or statements.

In regards to elections (national, state, local), Bellport.com imposes a 48 hour “Blackout” period before Election Day. In other words, assuming Election Day is on a Tuesday, any letters from the candidates or members of the community that are received after 5:00pm on the Saturday prior to Election Day, will not be published by Bellport.com. We do this in order to prevent last minute claims being made and “Fake News” that don’t give sufficient time for which to respond.

 


 

May 12, 2022

Upcoming Board of Education Election

I’m frustrated by the lack of impartial information about the candidates vying for my vote on May 17 for the four open seats on the South County School District Board of Education.

One local paper featured what appears to be candidate-submitted statements, which is better than no coverage at all, but it’s not journalism.

How can those of us without school-age children or who aren’t community insiders or personally connected to the candidates learn about those vying for our votes?

Many South Country voters, for instance, might be interested to know that among the candidates are two reportedly being sponsored by an extreme right wing activist group and that another is the 2008 School Board president who signed the 20 year bonds instead of the 15 year bonds approved by voters; a snafu that created the district’s current budget crisis—and that a candidate on his slate is one of his employees—that’s the kind of information we need to know.

Taxpayers need local media to give us a fuller, vetted profile of the candidates and their motivations for running so that our votes are informed by credible, impartial sources.

Betsy Craz
East Patchogue

 


 

May 12, 2022

Budget Development Process

Throughout the 2022-2023 budget development process, the South Country Central School District Board of Education and Administration have clearly informed the community that the district’s financial situation resulted from actions taken more than a decade ago. All funds from the 2005-2010 bonds have been audited and are accounted for. All building aid receipts have been accounted for and were properly recorded as revenue in the appropriate fiscal year. The district has also taken steps to ensure a more thorough transfer of information from one board to the next, from one administrator to the next, and from our retained financial advisors, bond counsel and auditors.

In addition to messages sent to our community and posted to our website, the district has openly discussed the situation at Board of Education meetings, as well as during a meeting with the PTA following last week’s budget hearing. All information that has been discussed is available on the district’s website and YouTube, where Board meetings are livestreamed for those in our community unable to attend in person.

Dr. Joseph Giani
Superintendent of Schools, South Country Central School District

 


 

May 7, 2022

The South Country School Board

The past few years have been difficult ones for our society: COVID-19, polarization, lack of civility, economic problems and angst of all sorts. Among those most affected have been school kids. It has always been a society’s responsibility to support our children’s growth, education, safety and well-being. We have a lot of work to do.

Into this mix comes the School Board and Budget vote. School boards are made up of private citizens who volunteer their time, talent, and varied expertise for the good of the students. Day to day management and education of the children is done by paid employees, but the school board has their hand on the tiller.

In South Country School District the four candidates endorsed by the BTA have stepped up to do this. Collectively, they have a broad base of experience and skills. They are Anne Hayes, the current Board president, Joe Barry, the chief development officer at Island Harvest Food Bank, Rafyel Flippen, a BHS grad and employee of the Boys and Girls Club, and Tara Kavanagh, a local attorney.

We do not need board members with extreme political agendas. We do not need board members with personal agendas and conflicts of interest. We DO need to elect board members who can work together with the rest of the board to resolve budget issues caused by mismatched bonds from 2006-2010 and years of careless administrative turnovers. And we need board members who will be focused on policies that foster sound education and enriching experiences for ALL of our children. It will be a challenge. This is a critical election.

On May 17, be a strong voice for our kids. Elect: Barry, Flippen, Hayes, and Kavanagh.

Darcy Stevens
Bellport

 


 

April 23, 2022

In Support of Anne Hayes, Leadership Matters

Three years ago, Anne Hayes and both of us were elected to the South Country School Board. Though new to the Board, Anne was immediately elected President. She accepted this position because she had both attributes necessary to succeed — a strong background as an attorney working with families and a commitment to apply those skills to benefit our school community and children.

Our 3-year term is ending this year, and we’ve decided not to run again. Fortunately, Anne Hayes is standing for re-election as a Board member, and we want to tell you about her leadership during these stressful pandemic years.

Anne was always fair, even when she didn’t agree with someone’s position, because she appreciates different points of view. Once a decision was reached, she was a team player, and not just with the Board members, but also working with the community and the District Superintendent. As a result, Anne fostered solid decision-making.

A striking demonstration of these qualities is how, under her leadership, Anne was able to confront the realities of our current budget situation and effectively work with the School Board and Administration to produce a budget that will hold our upcoming tax increase to less than 2%.

May 17th is election day for the South Country School Board and the School Budget. Please join us in voting for Anne Hayes.

Melissa Aruta, Trustee
Clyde Parker, Trustee
South Country Central School District

 


 

April 7, 2022

A Time for Thanks

As our South Country School Board begins to wind up this school year, I would like to say, “Thank You to Our Trusted Trustees.” The term “Trustees,” is the formal term for the elected volunteer members of our School Board.

In the face of the pandemic that arrived in March 2020 threatening our children’s physical and emotional health and education, our School Board never lost sight of their shared responsibility to always put our students first. As a result, students in South Country were spared challenges that students in other districts faced. Distance learning was put into place quickly; and when it was time to return to the classroom, effective safety precautions were put into place.

2022 has also brought unexpected challenges, especially relating to our upcoming school budget. Decisions made fourteen years ago have negatively impacted our current fiscal situation. Our School Board lost no time in beginning the work of investigating how this happened and putting into place new procedures to prevent this from happening again. They are developing a new budget that will be responsive to the taxpayers’ concerns and honor our shared responsibilities to our students. The new budget will again be below the 2% tax increase we had last year.

As a taxpayer, I appreciate our Trustees’ responsiveness about the school budget issue. In mid-February and again in March they published letters to the South Country Learning Community that provided transparency and demonstrated that they understood the level of concern that their constituents were rightfully expressing. Again, our School Board acted responsibly and with transparency in a time of stress.

After two years of being stress tested, I am proud to say “Thank You To Our Trusted Trustees.” You have truly earned my respect for what you have accomplished and how you have accomplished it. There is no doubt in my mind that the Board Members prioritized working together and this allowed them to succeed. As we consider the upcoming candidates for the South Country School Board, I think we have a wonderful model by which to judge them.

Please mark your calendar to vote for the School Board candidates and the school budget on May 17, 2022.

Phyllis Hartmann
Bellport

 


 

March 24, 2022

South Country Central School District Budget Development Process Update

Editor's Note: Click here for a letter sent out by the South Country Central School District regarding an update on the budget development process. This letter will also be mailed to all households in the South Country Central School District.

 


 

February 2, 2022

Party Enrollment Needed to Vote in Primaries

Our Primary Election is scheduled for June 28, with early voting from June 18 to June 26. You must be enrolled in a party in order to vote in that party’s primary. If you wish change parties, add a party, or disenroll from a party, you can do by submitting a new voter registration form, which can be found at a local library or post office. (Note: the date for the primary may be changed, due to possible changes in election districting this year.)

Nancy Marr
East Patchogue