Readers Write: Mineola seeks OK for expensive school fix

The Island Now

I received the Mineola Public Schools Outreach about the Nov. 19 referendum vote on Election Day, Nov. 5. 

Above the logo is stated, “For a lifetime of learning.” I have been learning now for more than 70 years. Dick and Jane and Spot taught me to read in the one room country schoolhouse out in the middle of nowhere which I attended for six years.

Recently, I wrote of the need for our school district to employ two handymen to keep the seven buildings in good condition. Of course, I am sure that there are already janitors that keep them clean and change light bulbs, etc. By handymen I don’t mean some crony bums paid the minimum wage. 

A handyman is a person with knack, expertise and pride in their work among other things that make permanent repairs as opposed to just a fix. 

My latest thoughts on the subject are that once the not too numerous issues have been corrected, the same two handymen could also take on one or more school districts at the same time so as to work full time. It is not as if everything is falling apart. 

I have seen this with my own eyes. I am going to comment on some items in this outreach in the order in which they appear.

The first is to spend $3.8 million. This is a lot of money and definitely enough to go around.

The second concern is the doors and windows. 

When I went to vote on the fifth of this month, I went to the Jackson Avenue School where I was told that I had to go to Hampton. That was my opportunity to examine what windows and doors I could see at Jackson. 

All I saw wrong was that one door had rubber weather stripping with a flexible lip that was dilapidated, torn and in need of replacement. The superintendent is recorded as saying that he saw a hole in one. Maybe his mind was on golf. 

I am sure that various kinds of weather stripping can be had in rolls and one cuts off a piece as needed. I am sure this solution applies to the doors on all of the buildings. 

I have seen that the doors all hang straight which means that the hinges are good. Hinges can be replaced by handymen.

Third, it’s enough with the brick stuff already. There are only a few places where mortar needs to be replaced. The bricks themselves are in the proper position. 

Handymen with a small assortment of different width trowels and spatulas can fill those areas and the results are permanent. Mortar is lime and sand which absorbs carbon dioxide and becomes limestone, calcium carbonate, rock. Handymen can make the windows work well too.

If the heating and cooling works as they are, leave them as they are. The tax burden is high enough as it is.

The outreach article stated that in some areas faulty bricks are causing leaks. I have to ask, “Are they losing it?” Bricks don’t leak! The handyman finds the source of the leak(s) and makes the repair(s). 

“Windows cannot be opened as they pose serious safety concerns for students and staff.” What is it? Are the windows going to jump off the wall and attack them? I already covered windows.

It is then stated as follows, “It is important to note that many of these buildings are operating with original brickwork and/or windows.” What jawbone originated this statement? Not some, all the buildings have original bricks. Last Wednesday I was in the city and walked a few extra blocks to examine the brickwork on Carnegie Hall. I looked at it up close, touched it and felt it. 

The bricks are perfect as when they were laid in 1891, 122 years ago. Also, the stone panels on the Empire State Building were stacked high back in 1931.

The impression is given that the $3.8 million are savings which does not cost the taxpayer anything. There is double-talk here. 

This is taxpayer’s money. Now they want $15 million more. The actual work is probably done by crony minimum wage earners. Where does the rest of it go? Good-comparatively sized-brand name-top of the line windows in Home Depot are only $300 to $500 each. The district could get them for much less. No middle men please.

This subject is not new to me. Back during the reign of the previous superintendent, money was wanted for this and that. I went to have a look for myself and scrutinized each school building carefully. 

I concluded most of it was bogus and wrote a letter addressed to the school board. 

A few days later, someone associated with the local hangout informed me that the Nassau County Police were asking about me; “Who is he? Is he a terrorist or something?” I didn’t get scared or intimidated.

I had by then written another letter about some other things I saw and also wrote that at least the facade and columns on the Jackson Avenue building should be painted. This was not on the agenda. 

Again, I got the same police response. This time I was given the officer’s calling card, which said problem solving. I have the card put away. The person relaying the information was insinuating that I was being a bad boy. 

I have often wondered who opened the board’s mail and sicked the police on me but I have an idea who. Anyway, the facade and columns got painted after all.

The district attorney at the time had the reputation of being useless but I did write to two elected officials about it so someone would know. Times have changed now.

If this is printed the world will know. It might also be seen if the pen is mightier than the sordid. I have had my say but I also respect the opinion of all the voters.

Charles Samek

Mineola

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