Hempstead protesters decry lack of electronic devices for home learning

Suffolk County residents and local elected officials from Hempstead and Port Jefferson attended a Hempstead Town board meeting on Monday in support of $25 million in funding that would fund grants for manufacturing green, electronic devices for home learning.

This device would assist students with basic academic skills like reading and math, as well as culture, language and history skills, that are just starting to develop in students in kindergarten and first grade, said David Calvert, a Hempstead resident. Hempstead taxpayers are sacrificing roughly $40 million a year in security costs and school fees, said Supervisor Laura Gillen, as part of the price of public schools. Hempstead residents and business leaders are clamoring for better early education.

“The only way this could ever happen is if we raised taxes,” Gillen said. “We are asking Hempstead residents for a sacrifice in order to prepare our children for future prosperity and economic growth.”

But Gottlieb countered that it is misguided to cut districts’ aid until they make substantial cuts. Gottlieb said Hempstead has lost nearly $10 million in state aid in recent years, and does not have any land or buildings to sell.

Gottlieb said he will vote to accept the state’s recently announced $2 billion program to help create more charter schools, a plan he said he fears will drain resources from public education.

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