Letters: Differing views on Oysterponds School District


The facts on choice

This is in regard to the “Equal Time” written by Mary and Tom Morgan. Voters in the Oysterponds School District cannot make an educated decision when they are given wrong information.

First and foremost, let’s talk about the Seneca Falls rate. The Greenport School District was willing to discuss an alternative tuition proposal. But members of the Oysterponds board came to Greenport and said they wanted the Seneca Falls rate. Oysterponds taxpayers are paying the highest rate allowed by law because their board chose to do so. You can’t blame Greenport.

With regard to Ms. Goldsmith and her daughter, Ms. Goldsmith was on the Oysterponds board long before her daughter became a teacher at Greenport High. Should Greenport not have hired her daughter because Linda sat on the Oysterponds board? Had that happened, Greenport would be missing one of its most conscientious and dedicated teachers.

Ms. Goldsmith’s dedication to her job as a board member is equally commendable. I remember sitting at an Oysterponds board meeting last year and Ms. Goldsmith telling the other members she couldn’t find the answer to a school-related question so she traveled to Albany to get the answer. That’s the kind of person I would want on my board of ed.

Regarding tuition, the Morgans mention the Oysterponds’ board claim that a contract with Mattituck would not cost more than the existing arrangement with Greenport, and possibly less. But a Suffolk Times news story in the same issue says quite the contrary.

Greenport’s rate per student is $14,000, according to the article. It adds that Mattituck’s Seneca Falls rate would be $16,800. That’s an increase of $2,600 per student, for a total increase of $210,000. We haven’t figured in transportation yet, so add another $100,000. That’s a far cry from “cost neutral.”

The Morgans further state the choice proposition cannot increase taxes and may actually reduce them. But in the article, Oysterponds school superintendent Joan Frisicano said she believes it would costs Oysterponds over $100,000 more to send their high school students to Mattituck.

The Equal Time also says some parents opt to send their children to a Catholic school. Did they consider that just maybe the parents want a parochial education for their children? I know there are Oysterponds district students attending Our Lady of Mercy School in Cutchogue. Does that make Oysterponds a bad school? Of course it doesn’t, nor does it make Greenport a bad high school.

For full disclosure, my great-grandmother, grandfather, father, brother, husband, in-laws, myself and two children all attended Greenport Schools. I have proudly worked at Greenport High School for 18 years and I do bleed Porter purple.

Joan Dinizio


Padding the budget

I was surprised that former Oysterponds school board president Walter Strohmeyer would write a letter to The Suffolk Times confessing to how he and fellow board members deliberately overtaxed the residents of East Marion and Orient.

Then I checked the facts and was able to confirm that, during his six-year tenure he is so proud of, our tax levy constantly increased year after year. Four consecutive years, from 2006 to 2009, the tax levy rose 7.89 percent, 9.34 percent, 8.84 percent and 15.8 percent.

Clearly Mr. Strohmeyer knows what he’s talking about when it comes to padding the budget, as the 15.8 percent increase resulted in a whopping $679,669 surplus for the district, money it did not need that residents could have used to pay their own bills.

A significant portion of these dollars were returned to the taxpayers last year, resulting in a decrease in the tax levy. This year’s tax levy represents an overall decrease in school spending from the budget for the current school.

Mr. Strohmeyer might be remembering the good old tax and spend days, but the current school board has been, and will continue to be, fiscally prudent.

I would not take advice on how to vote from a person that has admitted to deliberately overtaxing me while he was in office. I want my $679,669 plus interest back, as I’m sure all the residents of our community do.

Thom Gray

member, Oysterponds school board


Troy got it right

I seldom, if ever, agree with anything that Troy Gustavson has to say, but his column this past week was an exception.

In regard to dividing the Oysterponds graduates into two separate high schools, he wrote: “ … it would undo generations of tradition and simply devastate Greenport High School.”

He also wrote, and I agree, ” … and to ask district taxpayers to underwrite that bisection of the community is unfair and unwarranted.”

Unfortunately, several years ago a group of elitists in the Oysterponds community decided to search out and promote candidates for the Oysterponds school board, each of which agreed with their views. This group also enlisted some involved parents who also agreed with them.

The major issue that these new board members have continually tried to concentrate on is sending our kids to another high school besides Greenport.

If some of the parents involved do not want to send their kids to a school where there is a mixture of cultures, then I ask those parents the following:

What homogeneous college will you send them to? The University of Oslo?

If I were a parent of a child graduating from Oysterponds, I would first find out how well the “Oysterponds” kids graduating from Greenport High School did.

I would ask about their graduation rate, their academic success rate and academic achievements before I would consider sending them to any other high school.

The Oysterponds school board in my opinion is led by a chairman who is completely inept and has no concept of her duties.

She is supported by some members whose single agenda and narrow-mindedness has brought turmoil to the Oysterponds district.

Fortunately for the citizen taxpayers of Oysterponds, Linda Goldsmith brings reasoning and honesty to the Oysterponds school board.

If it wasn’t for the knowledge and dedication of Linda Goldsmith, our taxes would be out of sight and our kids would all be going to private high schools.

Linda holds this district together.

Contrary to what the Morgans wrote about Linda, I can’t imagine our school board successfully functioning without Linda Goldsmith. Can you?

John Copertino


It’s in the numbers

Before you vote on May 15, please read this.

In Southold the budget will go up from $25,676,931 in 2011-12 to $27,024,043 in 2012-13 and the number of students will drop from 903 to 867. The cost per student will increase from $28,435 to $31,170.

In Mattituck the budget will go up from $36,539,331 in 2011-12 to $38,004,156 in 2012-13 and the number of students will drop from 1,472 to 1,435. The cost per student will increase from $24,823 to $26,484.

In Greenport the budget will go up from $13,835,534 in 2011-12 to $14,914,713 in 2012-13 and the number of students will increase from 605 to 615. The cost per student will increase from $22,869 to $24,252.

In Oysterponds the budget will decrease from $5,546,865 in 2011-12 to $5,353,895 in 2012-13 and the number of students will drop from 180 to 178. The cost per student will decrease from $30,816 to $30,078.

Is your school headed in the right direction?

Donald Wagner


How the Dems feel

The Southold Democratic Party included a plank in its 2011 platform stating: “The Southold Town Democratic Committee favors Southold Town agricultural policy to be in accordance with New York State Agriculture and Markets Guidelines.”

We then placed a half-page ad in The Suffolk Times stating our position.

Art Tillman

chairman, Southold Democratic Committee


Where do we addle?

I am so ready to start addling those goose eggs.

The problem is, though I have seen thousands upon thousands of geese just hanging out in the creeks, each nonchalantly leaving their “pound of droppings per day,” I have never seen an actual goose nest. Where exactly do we find them? Marshy grasses? Fields? All of the above?

The DEC needs to do more than just say “go out and addle.” Someone needs to get a campaign going. I would love to see townwide “addling days” and would happily sign up. Bacterial contamination is a very serious problem here, and the geese takeover of our waters is, almost certainly, why some of our creeks are now closed to shellfishing. It will take aggressive and sustained action if we seriously want to improve the quality of our water.

Linda Auriemma


A close call

“She’s going down!” someone yelled.

One hot and sultry summer’s night in Fall River, Mass., we almost lost the famous HMS Bounty.

The photo of the legendary ship in last week’s Suffolk Times brought back the memory of what happened in Fall River Cove when she was saved by just a few minutes from sinking. It was close.

Late at night, while the ship was tied up at a pier in the cove, she stared taking on water. The six of us on board were sound asleep. We hadn’t noticed that the main bilge pumps had shut down. It would have sunk if we hadn’t stumbled around in the pitch dark and found the emergency switches that kicked on the back-up pumps.

That, fortunately, saved the day.

Jack McGreevy


An adverse effect

In the May 3 issue of The Suffolk Times an article by Julie Lane concerned the help by the Boy Scouts to build feeding stations for feral cats. These efforts are well meaning but have a very adverse effect on native birds and other wildlife.

On Dec. 7, 1997, the National Audubon Society’s board of directors approved a resolution regarding the control and management of feral and free-ranging domestic cats. I urge your readers to read this resolution in its entirety by visiting http://web4.audubon.org/local/cn/98march/nasr.html.

Paul Gillen Jr.


Never, ever by phone

Recently it was brought to my attention that some area residents are being solicited by phone to give donations to “hospice” and in at least one incidence when asked, the caller was reluctant to reveal the name of the organization to receive the donation.

Please be aware, East End Hospice has never, does not now, nor has any plan to engage in soliciting donations via telephone.

Granted, donations to East End Hospice are welcome and necessary to support activities such as our highly acclaimed children’s bereavement programs and providing group and individual therapy sessions to children and parents all across the East End. The same holds true for Camp Good Grief, which in this, its 15th year is expected to be attended by over 100 children, and the very exciting new project to build an eight-bed, free-standing hospice inpatient residence.

Looking back over the past 21 years of serving the people of the East End, the community has steadfastly supported and encouraged us in our work. We look forward to providing care and comfort to those in need in the years ahead as East End Hospice continues to bring the extraordinary level of support families have become accustomed to and rightly deserve.

Priscilla Ruffin

president and CEO, East End Hospice


Less than green

We have been using the Go-Green trash collection service for about a year and had our concerns at first.

We would sort our trash and created our recycle system. They would throw it all together in the truck with no regard for our efforts. Upon watching this, we’d question our driver and get a convoluted answer.

Then a little later we saw the ad in The Suffolk Times about the new, greener Go-Green and thought we’ll stay with them. A couple of times we saw a second truck picking up recyclables and felt they were doing a good job.

But just recently, the driver again threw the bottles, plastics and cans in the back of the trash truck. When asked why, his response was that they only separate cardboard.

“I won’t tell if you don’t tell,” he said.

Well, I’m telling.

Richard Spearbeck