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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

The Village of Garden City and the Garden City Public Library have been working together to repair the problems with the library’s elevator and will hopefully have it up and running in approximately three to four weeks.

It has been a difficult time for seniors, the physically challenged and a tremendous inconvenience for the public in general without an elevator running in the library. However the village and library both agreed that in its present condition the elevator was not safe for people to use.

Residents needed to run

The Garden City East Nominating Committee is seeking residents of the East who are interested in being interviewed for the positions of village mayor, village trustee and school board trustee. These positions are subject to election by all village residents. The village mayoral and trustee terms are for two years beginning on April 6, 2015 and the school board trustee term is for three years beginning on July 1, 2015.

Any resident of the East who is interested in being considered for one of these positions must submit a letter of intent and a resume. This submission should note the position being sought; include their name, contact information, a statement explaining their reason for interest in the position, a summary of their professional background and other qualifications, including, although not required, current or prior involvement in village or school board positions or initiatives.


Sports

High School Jazz Class Added To Dance Conservatory

Dance Conservatory Director Felicia Lovaglio has decided to add a jazz class for students in 9th through 12th grades who are residents of the Incorporated Village of Garden City. This 55-minute class will be held on Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning on Saturday, Nov. 8. The cost of this 20-week class will be $200. Preregistration is necessary by visiting the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Adult Dance Performance Group Now Registering

The recreation and parks department offers an adult dance group that works on jazz and contemporary moves and leads up to a performance in a Dance Company Showcase. Whether you are a beginner dance student or someone who danced as a child and would like to try again, this program will help you achieve your goals. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8. Each class is 55 minutes long and the session will run through May. The cost of this program will be $220.  

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.


Calendar

 Murder, Madness & Poe

Thursday, October 30

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 3

Manhasset Comes To Garden City

Through November 25



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