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Superintendents Discuss Budget Parameters

New Coaching Handbook Draft Presented to Board

At the last public board meeting for the Farmingdale School District on Wednesday, Dec. 8 approximately 15 parents and residents were in attendance to hear a budget parameter explanation given by Superintendent John Lorentz and Assistant Superintendents Paul Defendini, Joan Ripley, and Barbara Horsley.

Superintendent Lorentz said, “This year’s budget is going to give us some challenges that we haven’t experienced in Farmingdale in a long time.” He paired his explanation with a brief PowerPoint summary and addressed some of the challenges that the district will be prepared for in the upcoming budget planning, including some of the long-term budget objectives.

“The economy and fiscal crisis of the world at large is finally catching up with us in some ways, so we’re not going to be able to do some things that we have been able to accomplish in the past, even though our financial position puts us in a good place, it’s not the best place that we could possibly be,” said Lorentz. “We’ve lived up to our obligation and the community has supported us for the last number of years, since 2006, and first times out in supporting our budgets each time with a predictable tax levy.”

Before continuing with the public session, an announcement was made about the death of George R. Schriro on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Schriro, a resident of Farmingdale, who served on the school board from 1962 to 1965.  

During public comment period, President of Farmingdale SEPTA Jean Brown advised the board that the Empire Games for New York State have been cancelled for the upcoming year. The district’s special needs students will be affected as they had organized a team for the last year’s events. The 20-student team last competed in the June games at Mitchel Field. This program includes winter, summer, and senior games.

“I think it’s a real shame that New York State has cancelled the games; we are working very hard to try to come up with some remedy for the situation,” said Brown.

Also, SEPTA started a new Splash Swim Program. They expected 12 students to take part in the pilot program, but were surprised to have 24 students sign up. The program has been in the planning process for the past year and is now in cooperation with the Farmingdale Youth Council. Several Farmingdale High School students have taken on roles as swim volunteers. The program began on Saturday, Dec. 11.

Assistant Superintendent Joan Ripley and Athletic Director Jeanne Berkoski presented a draft of a new coaching handbook to board members for review.

“We put together a draft of a coaches’ handbook and an interscholastic athletic handbook for students and parents to help us communicate better, our philosophies, rules, regulations, expectations,” said Assistant Superintendent Joan Ripley. “We felt like it’s important to communicate our expectations upfront.”

When coaches meet with students before the sporting season begins, a handbook will be discussed and shared as part of the orientation.

Berkoski gave a summary of the contents in the new handbook including subjects like hazing, conduct, and transportation. She also answered questions and concerns by the board members and even one question by a parent in attendance about conduct of officials and referees.

To conclude the public session, Dave Tellier, audit partner representing Nawrocki Smith, gave a short summary to the board about the Independent Audit Report and Corrective Action Plan.

“The audit committee that this district has put together is very responsive, very intelligent, noteworthy to say that they really take this seriously,” said Tellier. “They make this process very smooth and easy, as well as the reporting aspects, they are very accurate.”

The audit has been completed for the year ending 2010, including an audit of the district’s extra-curricular activities.

The next regular public Farmingdale Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. in the Howitt Middle School on Van Cott Avenue in Farmingdale. The public is invited and encouraged to attend regular school board meetings and special sessions of the board of education. Regular board meetings generally are held the first Wednesday of each month beginning at 8 p.m. All communications to the board of education are to be in the hands of the District Clerk 24 hours before a meeting in order to be considered at the meeting. Correspondence may be addressed to: Board of Education, Farmingdale Union Free School District, 50 Van Cott Avenue, Farmingdale, NY 11735.