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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 Monday, July 7, Vincent J. Calamia, 48, of Floral Park, was arrested on charges related to the production and possession of child pornography. The criminal complaint, filed in the Eastern District of New York, alleges that between approximately 2005 and the date of his arrest, Calamia engaged in sexually explicit conduct with minors and possessed and produced child pornography. The complaint further alleges that approximately 10 videos seized from the defendant’s computer depict the defendant engaging in sexual contact with boys who appear to be as young as between 15 and 17 years old.

Village Board Trustee Mary-Grace Tomecki spoke on behalf of the Noise Abatement Committee at Tuesday night’s Village Board meeting regarding the proposed helicopter track route put forth by State Senator, Charles Schumer. Changes to the route would affect noise levels in the village and to other communities along the LIRR line.

The North Shore Route is a route currently used by helicopters exiting New York City heliports to locations on the east end of Long Island.

“The current route takes helicopters over the Long Island Sound at an altitude of 2,000 feet and is designed to minimize noise on the residential communities below,” said Tomecki. “A helicopter must arrive at its destination which in the case of the North Shore Route, means it must transition from water to land.”


Calendar

Village Concert

Friday, July 25

Magic & Comedy

Friday, July 25

Irish Kids-Fleah Music Fundraiser

Saturday, July 26



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