Letters: Oysterponds School putting too much on its plate at once

04/12/2012 6:00 AM |


Far too ambitious

“A Bridge Too Far,” written in 1974 by Cornelius Ryan, details a courageous attempt of World War II, “Operation Market Garden,” to capture several bridges in the Low Countries.

The major tasks of the Oysterponds School this year are many. They include arriving at a budget for 2012-13 that will pass and conform to the new 2 percent cap rule.

Then there’s negotiating a new contract with the teachers to replace the one that expired and negotiating as well with two other school districts as to where the secondary school students will go next year.

The list includes establishing a $2.5 million capital fund. Lesser tasks involve creating a new pre-K program, combining the first and second grades, significantly reducing the faculty and assigning all special education services to the principal and the part-time superintendent.

What about the goal of issuing iPads to all fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students and probably conducting a separate referendum for additional transportation costs connected to the secondary school contracts?

Attempting all of this is more than any school board could expect to accomplish in one year. It becomes even more problematic since the principal is new; the superintendent, though very hard working, seems overwhelmed; and the district clerk is very inexperienced.

Though there must be important reasons, two of the major tasks have been allowed to drag on and on and on. Though the board president has all the attributes for excellent educational leadership, something is lacking. Also, some board members are clearly not participating as much as circumstances warrant.

Whatever one thinks about it, the school’s very ambitious program requires a conscientious effort from all parties.

Overall, this program is an act of overreaching, much as was Operation Market Garden in World War II — and it, too, will probably fail.

The task of negotiating with the other districts is an act of extreme overconfidence, especially since it clearly defies the wishes of the residents and taxpayers. However, the people have no one to blame but themselves. It has been obvious for a long time that we need more competition in our choice of responsive and qualified candidates for school board membership.

Walter Strohmeyer

former president, Oysterponds school board


Library owes Tula

I want to share some more information about our unfortunate break-in last week.

The alarm was raised by the little Mexican puppy, Tula, that Gillian Wood-Pultz brought back from her last “vacation” there. Gillian and her husband, Dave, live across the street from the library.

Tula is a valiant pup. She sleeps on the bed with Gillian and Dave and started to growl and bark. Gillian tried to reassure her that nothing was wrong, but she insisted and jumped off the bed — a long jump for a little pup — ran to the window and growled and barked some more, finally getting Gillian up in time to see the window being broken.

Gillian called the police, who came in just two minutes. Bravo, Southold Town Police Sgt. Latham and officers Grattan, Buonaiuto and Flatley. Bravo, Tula.

Gillian brought Tula by in her rainbow sweater to be praised for her defense of the library. What a great little dog.

Lisa Richland

director, Floyd Memorial Library


A great asset

I can certainly understand the concerns for not wanting another YMCA, farm stand or whatever in Aquebogue adding to traffic woes and possibly affecting property values.

The traffic issue might be addressed when/if plans for the YMCA building are presented.

Property values are another question. We’ve lived in Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Washington and we joined the Y in each place. There have been educational, entertainment and exercise programs at each facility and the local residents have been enthusiastic supporters of each Y.

The proposed YMCA in Aquebogue would serve people on the whole East End — both North and South forks — and would be a great addition to the community.

Bernadette Mahoney