Written by Rick Karas, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 17 April 2014 08:20
The Garden City Board of Education will prepare to adopt next year’s school budget in a couple of weeks. Before they do, they’ll have to go over a few changes.
At the board’s public work session held at the high school on Wednesday, April 9, school superintendent Dr. Robert Feirsen recommended a few adjustments, part of the annual balancing act that is the school budget.
“We have the needs of our students, and the desire of the board representing the community to provide them with the most comprehensive, the richest programs possible,” Feirsen said.
“On the other hand, we have to balance that with the understanding that resources are limited.”
Feirsen was referring to the maximum allowable tax levy of 1.57 percent. A budget at or below the levy will require a simple majority to pass (50 percent of the vote +1). Or, a budget requiring a levy above the limit can be proposed, which would require a board resolution and a super majority (60 percent voter approval).
Working right at that limit, a $109.4 million budget has been proposed, up over $1.8 million from last year.
Dr. Feirsen is proposing adjustments because property tax increases are severely constrained by the tax levy cap, and because the district receives relatively little in federal ‘Title’ money, which is based on demographics, i.e. community wealth.
On the flip side there has been a slight increase in state aid to the district.
The recommended adjustments include staff reductions, largely due to enrollment decreases and the rise in maximum class-size in grades 2-5.
There would be a net reduction of 10.5 full-time equivalent staff (FTE). There would also be FTE reductions in library media and school nurse staff.
In the latter, there would be a .25 FTE reduction of a part-time nurse in each elementary school.
Resident Margie Rydzewski has issue with that reduction. Her daughter has juvenile diabetes and is currently a high school sophomore. She has another child currently attending Stewart. She believes even a slight reduction in the nursing staff could be an issue.
“I feel that any decrease is a danger to the safety of the children, and this mistake could affect the health, safety and ultimately the lives of our most precious asset, our children,” Rydzewski said.
Feirsen says he feels the nursing adjustment is appropriate given the low enrollment in the elementary schools. Also, a .5 ‘flex’ nurse is being added, to split time between Stewart and Stratford. That staffer would assist with routine duties, allowing the full-timer to tend to more pressing matters.
Feirsen admits it’s an imperfect solution, but says the board is in a no-win situation: either cut services, or try to override the tax cap, which would appear to deprive residents of tax relief, possibly leading to the budget being voted down.
“I can’t say this strong enough—there is no additional money... people think, in a $109 million budget, you’ve got to be able to find an extra $20,000 here or there,” he said. “It is not available, we have struck this budget to the greatest extent possible.”
The next key date will be Wednesday, April 23 at the high school, where the board will vote whether to adopt the budget. A public hearing will be held on May 13, with the vote occurring on May 20.
Friday, 24 October 2014 00:00
The Garden City Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the 35th annual Fall Festival Street Fair set for Saturday, Oct. 25 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Seventh Street. The chamber thanks the Garden City Hotel which will serve as the primary event sponsor.
JGS entertainment will return for the 16th year as master ceremonies providing music and vocals. There will be plenty of activities for the kids. Included will be the return of the two trackless trains carrying children 12 years of age and younger up and down Seventh Street sponsored by Coach Realtors and Garden City Teachers Association. There will be the traditional inflatable bouncy house sponsored by SMPL Technologies and the ever-popular money cube sponsored by Calogero’s and Leo’s. The Garden City Parks and Recreation Department will have giveaways and temporary tattoos.
Thursday, 23 October 2014 09:43
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.
Thursday, 09 October 2014 09:22
Prior to the start of high school running season, Garden City’s Physical Therapy Options (PTO) had an opportunity to provide a presentation to members of Sacred Heart Academy’s cross country team. Team members gathered at Garden City’s New York Running Company to learn strategies and tips for a successful fall season.
PTO staff members Dr. Meghan Goetz, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and PTO Aide Mike Murphy discussed the importance of stretching to prevent injury and provided strategies and tips for success for the high school runner.