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Garden City Schools' ‘Question Of The Week’

On April 1, Governor Cuomo’s proposed 2014-15 budget will be voted on by the state legislature. This week’s “Question of the Week” explains exactly what losses have occurred, what future losses the school district will experience, and where you can find additional information about state aid.

A complete listing of the questions and answers to date is posted on the district website: http://www.gardencity.k12.ny.us, under “Common Core FAQs.”

Q: How will the governor’s proposed budget impact the school district?

A: The governor’s proposed budget further decreases state aid to Garden City Public Schools by $14,680 for the 2014-15 school year. Since 2008, state aid to the school district has decreased by 13.5 percent. These decreases have taken place at the same time the district has experienced an unprecedented escalation in mandated costs and programs beyond the school district’s control, such as the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), the new standards’ attendant state testing, and APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review).

Further, significant state aid has been diverted back to the state through the GEA – the Gap Elimination Adjustment – a reduction included in the Governor’s 2014-15 proposed budget.

In an effort to close budget gaps at the state level since it was enacted in the 2009-2010 year, the GEA has reduced aid to Garden City by over $5 million, with a $3,141,513 reduction in just the past three years. This loss in aid to Garden City since GEA began equates to over 50 teachers’ salaries and benefits. Although some restoration of the GEA has taken place, Long Island has seen far less restoration (6.8 percent) than the rest of New York State (10.3 percent).       

Additionally, the constraints of the tax levy cap have limited a community’s ability to make its own decisions about how best to support its schools. This year’s proposed school district budget stays with the “2 percent tax levy limit,” a figure that is adjusted downward when the cost of living increase is less than 2%. This year’s cost-of-living adjustment was 1.46 percent (although the cost-of-living is higher on Long Island than upstate, no adjustment in the tax levy limit is allowed for regional variations). So, while last year’s tax levy limit was 3.91 percent, this year the district must stay with 1.58 percent to comply with a simple majority budget approval (50 percent + 1) on May 20, 2014. For the school district to elect to go above the 1.58 percent, a “supermajority,” or 60 percent + 1 of the vote must be achieved.

Q: Where can I learn more about this situation?

A: The board of education, the board’s legislative action committee, and the PTA have been communicating with local officials to express deep concern over the loss of local control over the district’s own programs, costs, and revenues.  

Residents can learn about these efforts by reading the board of education’s letter regarding the Common Core to Commissioner of Education John King. The letter dated March 11, 2014 can be viewed on the district’s website: http://p1cdn1static.sharpschool.com/UserFiles/Servers/Server_879883/File/PI%20Web/Letter%20to%20Commissioner%20King.pdf

Also available on the home page are all of the district’s 2014-2015 proposed budget presentations: http://www.gardencity.k12.ny.us/budget_information/

To add your voice to the concern over loss of local control and funding losses to Garden City as a result of reduced state aid and the GEA prior to the adoption of the state budget on April 1st, Garden City’s Parent Teacher Association has created a simple template residents can use to communicate with Governor Cuomo and local legislators. The template can be accessed at: https://www.votervoice.net/GARDENCITYPTA/campaigns/34931/respond

Watch this column in subsequent weeks for more answers to questions and concerns about the Common Core and other New York State mandates. If you are a resident of the school district and have a specific question you’d like answered about the Common Core or other pertinent education or budget topics, please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

— Submitted by the Garden City Public School District

 

News

Tullamore Park Old Timer’s Day reunion  

Calling all park rats, You are cordially invited to a Tullamore Park Old Timers’ Day Reunion that will be held on Saturday, Sept. 6 to honor George Roth and Richie Anderson for their years of service to the Garden City Recreation Department.  

For all of you who have memories of spending most of your youth playing at the park, it’s a chance rekindle old friendships and play a game of softball or kickball and remember all the good times you had at your second home. There will be a $30 fee for all those who plan on attending (children are free) that includes a spot on the team, a T-shirt, and food at Doc O’Grady’s immediately following the games. All proceeds collected will be directed by the Friends of Garden City Arts, Parks and Recreation for general park improvements.

Former beautification

committee chair seeks return

Stewart Manor residents had beautification on the brain at the village’s most recent board of trustees meeting. Several attendees participated in a friendly airing of grievances to the board about the amount of litter being left in front of some of the shops along Covert Ave and in the parking lots.

Former Village Beautification Committee Chairman Julian Sottovia says that enough is enough, and further steps need to be taken.


Sports

Summer Concert Schedule

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks is happy to announce the schedule of its concert series “Summer Music on the Village Green.” The concert series will be held at the gazebo on the corner of Stewart and Hilton Avenues. Concerts are held on Thursdays beginning at 7:15 pm. The schedule is as follows:

July 24    Six Gun

July 31     Tangerine

August 7    The Terry Nova Little Big Band

August 14    Vintage Bliss

To register for any of the above programs for find out further information about openings, please visit www.gardencityrecreation.org for an application or the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

The Best Secret In Town!

Did you know that each of our neighbor hood parks runs a playground program every summer? Children entering 1st through 8th grades who are residents of the Village are invited to come to the park during the summer to find out what activities are taking place.

Each park has its own “flavor” and “favorite” activities. The park directors and their staff run games, sports, tournaments, and arts and crafts activities during the day and into the evening. Trips are also run through the parks.  


Calendar

Summer Concert: Six Gun

Thursday, July 24

Fivestone Returns To Friday Night Promenade

Friday, July 25

Marvelous Movie Matinee

Monday, July 28



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