Written by Dave Gil de Rubio, email@example.com Friday, 01 February 2013 00:00
The Garden City schools will be getting more in state aid this year as a result of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed aid package, but district officials say the increase would be small and budget woes remain large.
Under Cuomo’s plan the district would see its 2012-13 state aid rise from $4,242,218 to a proposed $4,267,293, a .59 percent increase or $25,075. According to Dr. Robert Feirsen, the schools superintendent, the amount would barely make a dent with Garden City’s school monetary woes.
“It’s such a small amount that it would basically have no impact on the budget,” he said. “You’re talking about a $105,000,000 budget and an increase of $25,000 doesn’t change the percentages much,” Feirsen said. “We have many mandated increase costs and this doesn’t really help.”
Pensions and health care are among the state mandated costs the district has to contend with. And while the Garden City Teachers Association renegotiated its contract last year, resulting in an approximate $675,000 savings in the 2013-13 school year, there are other expenses looming that the district hadn’t had to contend with.
“We’re being demanded by the state to move to online testing for our students, which requires tremendous infrastructure changes and purchases and acquisitions of technology,” explained Fiersen. “Plus one of the most significant for our school district here is tax certiorari lawsuits that we are not responsible for paying. That could be millions of dollars. That’s the process by which property owners appeal their taxes to get reductions. So we’ve never had to contend with that because the county before acknowledged that if they made the error, they would pay the damages. Now the county shifted that to the school districts and potentially millions of dollars to Garden City.”
The other aspect of these tax certiorari lawsuits is that the added incurred expense is not exempted from the two percent cap the state expects Garden City and all other school districts to stay below. It’s a controversy that Garden City Public Schools were drawn into and an understandable source of frustration for the superintendent.
“If we’re sitting on a few million bucks in terms of tax refunds that we are liable for, that basically eats up all of the allowable increases [within the cap] and then some,” said Fiersen. “[It] makes any increase within the tax levy cap ridiculous because we now have all these millions of dollars of lawsuits that we’re responsible for, and we have nothing to do with assessments.”
State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), shakes his head over the small increase in state aid and those upcoming tax certiorari payments that the Garden City School District faces.
“For districts to lose money, and some will or will gain very little, it doesn’t strike me as being essentially fair,” Hannon said. “As we negotiate on the budget, we’ll try to make sure that we get a better break for all districts. “[As for the tax certiorari], the rest of the state deals with it because they pay it. But in another sense, since 1938, the county has basically been picking up that charge. So there is going to be a need to have a better adjustment for school districts in the county.”
Friday, 13 December 2013 00:00
Garden City resident Juana Quijano is among three Nassau Community College students to receive scholarships from Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. The law firm has awarded scholarships to Quijano and two other Long Island veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and are now enrolled at Nassau Community College. “It is incumbent upon the Long Island business community to assist our veterans as they transition into civilian life,” said Meyer Suozzi English & Klein, P.C. Managing Attorney Lois Carter Schlissel. “It is essential that we help them complete their education by providing tuition assistance so that they can compete for jobs in this very difficult economic climate.”
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Jill Palmeri, founder of a local charitable organization born out of a tragic event to a loved one in her life, was honored by Garden City Mayor John J. Watras and his trustees at the village board meeting held on Thursday, Dec. 5.
The Andy Foundation was founded by Palmeri in 2004 to honor the memory of her late son Andrew; it’s mission is to help children in need, and to date, the volunteer-driven organization has raised more than $700,000 for kids throughout Long Island through fundraising efforts that include tag sales, football clinics, and bingo parties.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00Buckley Country Day School upper school students earned top honors at the end of this fall’s interscholastic soccer season. Garden City’s Katherine Gage, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bob Gage, was named the Most Improved Player of the Girls’ 5th and 6th-grade Red Team.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Mad Science Winter Program
Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks is offering a six-week winter program geared to children who are interested in science. Mad Science of Long Island is a company who provides a wonderful and fun learning experience in an after school setting. Different topics such as “Bugs!” and “Walloping Weather” are offered for each week and the participants will cover a range of activities pertaining to the topic. Residents of the Village of Garden City entering grades k-5 are invited to attend.
The cost of the six-week program is $102 and all checks should be made payable directly to “Mad Science of Long Island.”