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Sewanhaka Bond Set For May Vote

The Sewanhaka Central High School District will have another bond referendum vote on May 20, the same day as the school budget, to save on voting costs.

The school board selected a $86.61 million bond proposal last week. If upheld by voters next month, the plan will contribute significant upgrades and renovations to the district's five schools and two vocational buildings. The plan is a slightly smaller version of the proposal residents voted down last December.

If the bond were to fail again, district officials say, Sewanhaka would face possible program and staff cuts. Important capital projects would need to be put into the operating budget.

“In a tax levy cap world, you’re already facing possible cuts,” Board President Dave Fowler said. “In my view, it’s part of the educational cannibalism going on. We’re feeding on ourselves and [with the tax levy] this is a reality we face.”

Athletic field work for the entire district totals about $16 million, according to district officials. The proposal reduces gym additions at all the schools except Elmont Memorial High School, which is set to receive a $2 million upgrade. The proposal pares down field work at New Hyde Park Memorial High School, but will still include synthetic turf for football and field hockey fields.

“Athletic facilities will still be sodded and irrigated appropriately throughout the district,” District Superintendent Ralph Ferrie said. “There are three tracks that have to be patched, fields leveled and tennis courts repaired. The New Hyde

Park gym ceiling project will be completed within the capital projects of next year’s budget, not in the bond.”

All auditoriums will receive upgrades but not air conditioning. The outside seating areas at H. Frank Carey High School originally proposed were eliminated and a new elevator will be included. Sewanhaka will still receive a new, albeit smaller, cafeteria addition, saving Sewanhaka $2.3 million.

“The time is now,” said Fowler. “[We need] to get as much of our capital needs meet as possible.”

Fowler said the upgrades are necessary for the health and welfare of students. “We just simply can’t keep with the things that are necessary for them,” he said. “

New Hyde Park resident Christine Grincato was concerned with the interest that will accrue on the bond and potential tax increases that will take effect if it’s approved. The December bond would have raised taxes $144.26 per household.

“We need to see the numbers [for the new bond],” said Grincato. “I want to know how much this is going to cost.”

The previous bond’s interest rate was 3.25 percent, with a .25 percent escalation each year, according to Ferrie. He did not know the possible tax increase as of last week.

“All of the money could not be borrowed the first year [with the last bond],” said Ferrie. “In New York, you can’t borrow money until you’re prepared to do the work.”

The projects would be carried out over a period of three to four years. About 47 percent of the debt issued would be paid through New York State building aid.

“If this bond issue is about repair to the buildings, why does the school board continue to include massive amounts of money for athletics facilities and the remodeling of school auditoriums, plus many unnecessary renovations?” said Floral Park resident Milton Brush. “The option [selected] goes beyond the means taxpayers can afford.”

Sewanhaka has solicited proposals on performance energy contracts, which would let companies evaluate building lighting, windows, roofs, heating, ventilating and air condition systems, etc. for renovation. Any savings would decrease any bond option’s amount by an estimated $10 million and increase building aid from the state.

The district is currently reviewing bids for those contracts.

News

The Floral Park Recreation Summer 2014 programs have now reached their half way point. While youngsters still have four more weeks of camps and activities, the night time volleyball and basketball programs are now gearing up for their final push to the playoff and championship rounds. Of the 55 adult teams competing, only Madness and Chaos (B league basketball) and Poppy’s (Women’s competitive volleyball) have managed to move through the season without a blemish on their records. Playoffs for volleyball are on Aug. 6 and Aug. 7, while basketball quarterfinals begin Thursday, July 31. Family, friends and spectators are always welcome. Good luck to all teams and players during their quest to become Floral Park’s Champions of the Summer of 2014.

As in past years, the Floral Park Recreation Department sprinkled in some expert instruction along with the recreational format of the various camps. Many thanks go out to Lisa O’Grady (OLV volleyball coach) for presenting an excellent volleyball clinic for our beginning junior players. Once again, Nassau Community College football Coach Ed Mack and his players have volunteered their time to give a few pointers for all youngsters grades 4 and above on Wednesday, June 30. The junior football clinic kicks off at 8:30 a.m., while senior campers (grades 7 and above) will receive instruction beginning at 10 a.m. Some features will include pass and catch techniques and NFL style agility drills. All Floral Park youth entering grades 4 and above are invited to attend. At that same time, Chris Schneider, outstanding and championship basketball coach at both St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart, will be on hand to present a comprehensive basketball clinic for both our junior and senior future female basketball stars.

The 36th annual Thunderbird American Indian Mid-Summer Pow-Wow will be held at the Queens County Farm Museum from Friday, July 25 through Sunday, July 27. It is the longest-running American Indian Pow-Wow and will feature three days of inter-tribal Native American Dance Competitions.

More than 40 Indian nations will be represented. Chanting, drumming and brilliantly-colored, finely-detailed regalia will provide stimulating entertainment for people of all ages. All dance competitions and performances will be narrated for your appreciation of the rich tradition and culture that is being shared. American Indian art and craft vendors will offer a unique array of times for shoppers.


Calendar

Theatre Box

Friday, August 1

E-Cycling Collection

Saturday, August 2

Floral Park Board of Trustees

Tuesday, August 5



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