Tell Assemblyman McKevitt: Albany’s Got NO RIGHT to “Force School Consolidation”

Candidate for assembly speaks out on education.

Some people will do anything for an endorsement – even for press that constantly disrespect our communities, like Newsday.

In our first meeting as candidates to represent the new 17th District, outgoing Garden City Assemblyman McKevitt told the Newsday editorial board he supported “a military-base-closing-style commission to force school consolidation.”

I swore he must not have been serious. This guy calls himself a “conservative”?

But he’s sticking to his plan: Assemblyman McKevitt says Albany should hand down mandates from the mountain top and be able to merge school districts without our consent.

What about our communities’ rights? How many of our neighbors bought a home because of the local schools? What happened to local people deciding their own fate?

What’s next? To protect us from ourselves, we can’t vote on local budgets anymore?

We just finished a battle like this in Levittown, successfully pushing back the Town of Hempstead’s support for letting outside developers change our zoning laws forever.

We weren’t going to let them build multi-story condos between single-family homes on Crocus Lane.

I walked petitions house-to-house to support my neighbors, and listened to the scared voices of seniors and young couples – fearful their American dream would be lost to the powerful and well-connected.

Assemblyman McKevitt said he understood our concerns. But the principle wasn’t condominiums or construction: it was home rule and locals knowing best.

I told Newsday in that same meeting that it was elected officials job to listen, lead, work out deals and bring everyone to the table.

Assemblyman McKevitt would pass the buck and cheapen our democracy in the process.

Our best schools on Long Island – some of the best in America – are “community schools.” They serve their whole community as centers of social life, not just education.

How are we supposed to keep up our education tradition if some all-powerful commission is closing our schools and busing off our communities’ kids in all directions?

We all know we have too much government. Why do you think taxes are so high?

We have so many districts – sanitation, water, highway – to cut back on, not to mention too much expensive local government from the patronage-full County and Towns.

Will Islanders eventually have to find new, more cost-effective ways to fund our schools and share our resources?

Sure, and that’s what neighbors do. We work together.

But people make those decisions locally – neighbor to neighbor, town by town.

Albany – or Washington, for that matter – shouldn’t be dictating what our communities look like against our will.

This shouldn't be a partisan issue: it’s an American ideal.

And something I thought both Assemblyman McKevitt and I, as candidates for State Assembly, understood.

I admit, I was wrong. But will he?


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