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Build It And They Shall Come

District hears external audit along with special education report, and gives a tour of the renovated middle school

When evaluating how a school district is serving its students and the community as a whole, sometimes it’s necessary to get an extra set of eyes or two for a clear analysis.

At the Oct. 16 Garden City Board of Education meeting, the board and the public got to hear how the district is doing financially, and how the Special Education department is faring. Both reports came from outside parties.

The accounting firm of Nawrocki Smith LLP presented its district audit report, and it was a positive one. The district has total assets of $125 million, total liabilities of $85 million, and a net worth of $40 million.  Total revenues were up 1.7 percent, with total expenses up 1.8 percent. The district shows a slight deficiency of revenues under expenses of $315,000.

Also, $2.8 million has been designated for the 2013 budget and was given back to the taxpayers. All figures were for the fiscal year ending on June 30. Overall, the firm said there were no compliance violations in district financial statements.

The district used the firm Futures Education to analyze the special education curriculum.  Many educators and administrators involved in the department were interviewed for the report over the last few months.

Futures found that the district provides an “excellent continuum of services for students with disabilities,” and that those students are “very much part of the fabric of the schools, and engage in a number of meaningful curricular and extracurricular interactions with typical peers.”

It’s been recommended that the district enhance community outreach activities with parents of special needs children, and is strongly encouraged to revisit the creation of district-wide entry and exit guidelines for speech language pathology services to ensure uniformity.

The board meeting was held at Garden City Middle School, so the public could receive a tour of the new additions and renovations. This included the area of the old north gym and coach’s office, which has been converted into several new classrooms.

A new smaller instructional gym has been completed, adjacent to a brand-new boys locker room, moved from the basement to the main level. There is also a brand new fitness center, along with more energy-efficient lighting and exterior improvements to the main entrance.

Other news and notes from Tuesday’s meeting:

-The district says they have more than doubled the number of AP scholars over the last five years, and specifically mentioned high school students Neil Quigley and Jacqueline Seskin, who are both Semifinalists in the Merit Scholarship competition.

- The C-Span campaign bus will arrive in town this week, to help educate students on the electoral process.

- State Sen. Hannon has secured a $100,000 grant for the district.

- As of the end of August, the district reports a general fund balance of over $17.6 million.

- The board accepted the donation of gym equipment from the Garden City Hotel.

- The girls swim team was recognized for posting an astounding 100 consecutive victories.

- The next regular board of education meeting will be Tuesday, Nov.13 at 8:15 p.m. at Garden City High School.