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Bond Questions At School Meeting

Ongoing discussion about the upcoming bond referendum vote at Sewanhaka High School has dominated board meetings since the district announced its second proposed plan to renovate its five buildings. The newly proposed $86.61 million bond will be used for renovations and infrastructure projects in the district’s five high schools and up for vote on May 20. The district previously put up a $99.5 million bond, which failed before voters last December by 293 tallies.

Programs, Teacher Transfers

Parent Evelyn Ferguson addressed the board asking about the transitional program at H. Frank Carey High School. The program helps students ease back into regular schooling after spending time in a hospital or other treatment facility. Counselors are provided through the program for students dealing with mental health issues but Ferguson is concerned that none of the building’s assistant principals possess psychology degrees.

Ferguson’s questions about the transitional program segued into her main concern—that one of Carey’s assistant principals is being transferred to Floral Park Memorial High School. Ferguson says that John Kenny, assistant principal for grades 8 and 11, is going to be transferred, reducing the number of assistant principals at Carey to two. The board would not comment on the rumor.

“We don’t discuss particular personnel issues in public,” said Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie.

Other mothers at the meeting shared Ferguson’s concerns that only two assistant principals will not be sufficient to oversee the large student body. They are confident that the transfer will go through and are frustrated by the board’s refusal to discuss the issue with them. “They won’t confirm or deny it. The silence speaks volumes,” Ferguson says.  

While the board would not discuss the employee in question, they did confirm that a transfer would be occurring, although it could be any of the three assistant principals.

At the April 22 Sewanhaka Central High School District Board of Education meeting, local resident Christine Grincato asked if the board would be providing a line-item budget for the newly revised bond.

“How much would go for the roof? How much would go for the auditorium? I don’t see that information online or in the presentation,” she said. “I think that’s really important for people to see where the money is going to go,” Grincato said.

According to Girincato the only information available breaks down the district budget by school but not by the various projects that have been proposed. The board promised to make a more detailed budget available online to the community.

There will be a budget hearing on May 6 in preparation for the next bond referendum vote on May 20.

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.

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.

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.

The next regularly scheduled board meeting is May 27.   

News

On Saturday, July 26, Floral Park and Hance Family Foundation supporters from more than 23 states, including from Michigan, Louisiana, and Arizona, from three countries joined in the remembrance of Emma, Alyson, and Katie Hance in the foundation’s annual Day of Remembrance. Green ribbons and balloons were tied generously around trees, lampposts, railing and garden stakes, celebrating the lives of the sisters, gone too soon.

The foundation’s Facebook page was loaded with photos and prayers and messages from around the globe, from those who participated in some way, remembering the sisters who died in a car accident on July 26, 2009, at ages 8, 7, and 5.

Bright blue eyes, a full head of hair, beautiful smile, and full of energy. At 5 years old, Ethan Demmers is possibly at the healthiest he will be in his life. Ethan was recently diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy (DMD). Typically, people with this disease live only into their 20s. Over the next few years, the disease will slowly attack every muscle in Ethan’s body, eventually causing him to permanently be in a wheelchair. Ethan’s parents are not ready to give up their hope for a cure. They are fully committed to helping find a cure for this deadly illness, not just for their own son, but for all others suffering as well.

Ethan’s father, Dustin Demmers, is an English teacher at Floral Park Memorial High School. To the student body, Demmers can be described as funny, happy, wacky, wild, crazy, and unique among other adjectives. Demmers can be found smiling through the halls, making jokes over the loudspeakers, or making his class into the ideal environment for learning.


Calendar

Free Barbeque Dinner For Local Veterans

Thursday, August 14

Hockey Team Concert Benefit

Friday, August 15

Summer Recreation Awards Ceremony

Thursday, August 21



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com