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, 14 June 2013 00:00
“The three airports operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) collectively represent the busiest airport system in the United States,” said Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau). “The noise generated by all these overflights has increased steadily over time, and it’s incumbent upon the PA to conduct a noise study to ensure that aircraft noise is given proper consideration by airport operators when they determine which runways and approach paths to use.”
Hannon’s legislation, passed unanimously, is Senate bill 3841, which would require the PA to conduct a noise and land use compatibility study as set forth in 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 150. That report would then be submitted to the governors and legislatures of New York and New Jersey, and would require the PA to hold biennial public hearings at which the public would be heard regarding aircraft noise issues.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
The suburban home setting in Freeport seems a long way from the small farmlands of the Irish midlands. Although former Garden City Schools employee Tom Phelan now lives thousands of miles away from the country he was born and raised in, he is set to release his fifth novel depicting life in his old Irish homeland.
Phelan is set to read from his collection of works on Monday, June 17 at 7 p.m. at the Summer Gazebo Readings on Schoolhouse Green in Oceanside. Though he has been writing for many years before his work was published, his first novel was released in April 1998 when a Dublin publisher accepted In the Season of the Daisies. A decade and a half later, the Freeport native is currently finishing up his fifth novel, Lies, which is set for release in 2014.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
The Garden City Centennials held their annual year-end Soccer Fest at St. Paul’s on Saturday, June 1. The day-long event is the culmination of the soccer season for the more than 2,100 young girls and boys that participate in one of the many programs the Centennials offer. Highlighted by the giving out of the annual awards to all players, the youngsters also enjoyed the fun games and activities throughout the day. Soccer Fest also represented the close of the travel season for the 41 girls and boys teams that compete in the Long Island Junior Soccer League. And with 39 travel teams, the Centennials have become one of the top programs not only on Long Island, but in New York State.
Thursday, 13 June 2013 00:00
Not too many attorneys have made their way to glory in the boxing ring. Roseanne “Ro-Hammad Ali” Beovich hopes to become the first when she participates in the 10th annual Long Island Fight for Charity event on November 25 at the Hilton of Melville.
Beovich, an associate attorney at Genser, Dubow, Genser & Cona, LLP in Melville, has no formal boxing experience but “became interested in boxing because I like to try new sports and find activities that will challenge me.”