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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

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



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