New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $137 billion spending plan will increase education aid by $807 million for the 2014-2015 school year, but school officials say it will still put them up against the wall.
“We are hoping the legislature can make some significant improvements [to the budget],” said Farmingdale Schools Superintendent John Lorentz. “Otherwise, Farmingdale and other school districts will have some tough decisions to make.”
Based on the preliminary budget figures, the Farmingdale School District will receive $746,419 more than last year, or a total of $27,966,058—an increase of 2.74 percent.
Despite the bitter cold and a few inches of fresh snow covering the ground, the St. Luke’s Lutheran Church Community came out in droves on Saturday, Jan. 25 for the first “Taste Of St. Luke’s” event. More than 125 people chowed down on dishes made by more than 30 church members in an effort to raise money for a new community center.
“A lot of people don’t know, but we bought the Chase bank next door, the building,” explained Karen Wiking, organizer of the event and the director of Christian education for the parish community. “Even though all of the teller windows and all of the bank stuff is gone—we already ripped that out—it still very much a bank. All of the proceeds from this event are going towards renovations on that building for more community programs.”
After 20 years with the Farmingdale School District, Northside Elementary School Principal Elizabeth Craig Garavuso plans to retire at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.
“I love the people here,” Garavuso said. “Farmingdale is a solid middle-class community, where I found lots of families were very receptive to working with the schools and taking advice from teachers and administrators.”
Prior to her tenure in the Farmingdale Schools, Garavuso worked for St. Agnes Catholic School in Rockville Centre, as a math and computer teacher in the East Meadow Schools, and as the assistant principal of Oldfield Middle School in the Harborfields Central School District.
Farmingdale School officials recently discussed the district’s new bus contractor, whose services were acquired after the previous transportation, Atlantic Express, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy and liquidated its assets.
“Our contract was awarded to Educational Bus Inc. and without question they are the company that we were hoping that we would get,” said Farmingdale Assistant Superintendent Barbara Horsley. “They are a local area company, so they know our district. They work with the Massapequa School District and now they are working with us...over the holidays they spent a lot of energy to make sure that they knew the routes, and they hired most of our old drivers, so we have the same drivers doing the same routes. The transition has been smooth and is going well.”
Student assessment, achievement, and the constantly shifting climate of education in general in New York State was the focus of Wednesday’s meeting of the Farmingdale Board of Education, and as could be expected, parent reaction to these occasionally radical changes were mixed at best.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Joan Ripley gave a presentation on the new assessments that are being given to Farmingdale students in the 2013-2014 school year. At the core of the discussion was what the administration is looking at in terms of student performance as the district continues to transition to the Common Core Learning Standards, and what the district is doing with that information to improve the overall student learning experience.
“We’re going to continue to fight,” were the words Hofstra Law Professor Stefan Krieger used last October, when he told The Farmingdale Observer about the eight-year-old legal battle between nine Hispanic residents and the Village of Farmingdale, over the redevelopment of 150 Secatogue Avenue.
Once regarded as the epicenter of the Latino-American community in Farmingdale, 150 Secatogue Ave. was home to a 54-unit apartment complex, before being bought by developers with Fairfield Properties, in 2006, for the construction of upscale apartments on the site. While the location was private property, at the time, the plaintiffs had claimed the village and property owners had failed to keep the building up to code, giving the village authority to sell the property and evict tenants, citing health violations for their reasoning to close off the property.
Farmingdale residents with a hankering for crunchy spring rolls now have an outlet to remedy their cravings. Long Island’s first Vietnamese restaurant, The Rolling Spring Roll, opened shop on Main St. in Farmingdale, last July, giving local foodies a chance to experience something unique without leaving the neighborhood.
Joe Bui, the restaurant’s owner and chef, said that he came to the Village of Farmingdale with the goal of giving residents a taste of authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
“I wanted to create an alternative to lunches and dinners that people normally have,” Bui said. “This is the kind of food that I want to present to people, and that they get a craving for.”
Just a day after New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his 2014 State of the State address, Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, visited the students and staff at
Farmingdale State College for a special presentation to help decipher Cuomo’s speech.
New York State Assemblyman Chad Lupinnacci and Farmingdale State College President Hubert Keen also attended the presentation on Jan. 9, to learn more about some of the changes in state finance for 2014.
Farmingdale’s Main Street is one step closer to aquiring a new eatery, after village trustees voted to approve permits for the upcoming Village Diner, scheduled to open next month on the site of the former Bollinger’s Family Restaurant, at 282 Main St.
The Village Diner will be a welcome addition to the business landscape of Farmingdale, said Mayor Ralph Ekstrand.
“Originally, it was going to be called ‘The Town Diner,’ but because we wanted that village feel, we asked if they could change the name,” he said. “We like that home town feeling, and we’re looking forward to sitting down and eating some burgers and milkshakes there.”
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano was sworn in to a second term on Jan. 2 at Bethpage High School. When a paper Bible couldn’t be located, he took the oath of office with his hand on an iPad that had the Bible on-screen. Here is his speech, abridged due to space limitations.
Allow me to start off by saying thank you, Gov. Cuomo, for taking time to join me on this special day. I am deeply honored by your presence. Colleagues in government, reverend clergy, distinguished guests, family and friends: Thank you for celebrating with me today.
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