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State Aid Sees Slight Bump

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $137 billion spending plan will increase education aid by $807 million for the 2014-15 school year, but school officials say it will still put them up against the wall. Based on the preliminary budget figures, the Garden City School District will receive $91,724 more than last year, or a total of $4,517,020—an increase of 2.07 percent.

While every bit of monetary assistance from the state helps, state mandated costs have essentially remained the same, while cost of living has increased. It's a factor  School Superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen feels this amount of aid fails to address.  

“We are greatly disappointed with the governor’s budget proposal. It once again fails to recognize the high cost of living on Long Island or offer any significant relief from mandates," he explained.  "In addition, the budget proposal fails to restore Garden City’s state aid to the level it received in 2008-09.  Combined with the anticipated low tax levy cap for the coming year, the budget proposal, if enacted, will make it much more difficult to sustain the programs that have made Garden City a leading school district in the country."   

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 two years ago, there are other expenses that the district has to contend with.

“We’re being demanded by the state to move online testing for our students, which requires tremendous infrastructure changes and purchases and acquisitions of technology,” Feirsen explained last year.

A technology task force that was formed in the last year and made up of a few dozen faculty members, students and residents recently gave the results of a report urging the need for expenditures for new laptops/tablets, staff development and wireless licensing.

Using the preliminary budget numbers, the state Department of Education has calculated estimates of how much state aid will be allocated to each individual school district. Of the $807 million increase, the state education department estimates a $24.2 million increase for school districts in Nassau County. The $807 million proposed in the executive budget drives an average increase of nearly $300 per student.

The executive budget also allocates $1.5 billion, over a five-year period, to fund a statewide universal full-day pre-K program, $720 million over five years to expand after-school programs, and proposes a $2 billion Smart Schools Bond Act to ensure students have access to the latest technology needed to compete on the global stage.  These fiduciary shortcomings are something Feirsen hopes to get help addressing from local politicians.

"We hope that our representatives in the Legislature in Albany will recognize the fiscal stresses experienced by Garden City and all other Long Island school districts and then make significant adjustments to the Governor’s aid figures," he said.

Dave Gil de Rubio contributed to this story

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