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No Intent to Override Tax Cap in Glen Cove

School board agrees on a 2 percent tax levy increase

Though the budget will not be adopted until next month, the Glen Cove City School District Board of Education trustees voted – after much discussion – to stay at the 2 percent tax levy for the 2012-13 school year. A large part of the three-hour-long meeting revolved around the “fine print” involved in the tax cap law number, each of the board members’ view on that law and what it means for Glen Cove public schools.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph A. Laria introduced the discussion by pointing out the complex formula involved in determining a “cap” for each school district, expanding on a conversation held at the previous meeting and reported in the March 15 edition of the Record Pilot. It was explained that, in reality, the district’s “cap” is 2.38 percent before exclusions and 3.65 percent after accounting for state mandated exclusions, yet the superintendent said he felt that, due to the public’s perception of the law, it would not be wise to go above that number this year.

Some of the board members referred to the 2 percent as a “fictional number” set in place by Albany, and each member of the board gave a number that they felt would be reasonable, ranging from 2.0 to 2.95 percent; in the end they agreed by a majority vote that the budget they propose next month will not exceed a 2 percent tax levy increase.

“It’s not about money, it’s about perception. We can’t risk the budget not passing,” said Trustee Ida McQuair.

“The numbers from Albany are a crock,” said Trustee David Huggins. “To stay at 2 percent would be doing a disservice to the students and the district. We are almost out of bone marrow and I cannot fathom going down to 2 percent.”

Trustees Barrie Dratch, Gail Nedbor-Gross and Board President Richard Maccarone also felt it wise to stay closer to 2 percent.

“The families want a break,” said Maccarone.

Trustee Grady Farnan said he felt it would be smart to stick to the 2.38 percent “real” cap, indicating that small percent would not have a huge impact on individual taxpayers yet would have a large benefit for the district. Trustee Joel Sunshine agreed, and took that sentiment further by saying that academic programs would suffer if the district continued to pass such conservative budgets.

After everyone gave their input, the board agreed in a 5-2 vote that at the budget adoption meeting on April 16, they plan to pass a budget that will not exceed a 2 percent increase on the tax levy.

Members of the audience expressed their pleasure with this decision, raising the points that commodities are increasing everywhere and people are feeling the pinch in their budgets.

Rick Smith said, “Cut every place you can, let the community feel they are getting a break.”

“We want to feel that you recognize that pressure – passing a 2.0 percent budget sends the message that, ‘hey, we’re in this together,’” said Charlie Bozello.

A woman in the audience said that the state legislators need to know that they are putting teachers’ needs ahead of the students and there needs to be reform.

Prior to the tax cap law discussion, a lot of time was devoted to approving test scoring in-house. Dr. Laria explained that the tradition in the district has been to have the teachers grade the assessments, while last year was the exception when the tests were outsourced for scoring.

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Dr. Shari L. Camhi said that allowing the teachers to grade the tests is a professional development tool, and that knowing how to grade them provides teachers with more insight into what is being looked for in the assessment exams so they end up teaching more effectively. The consensus was that teachers preferred having the opportunity to grade the tests. However, she stated that the trend may be going toward having all assessments graded by a third party, as mandated by New York State, as early as next year.

Members of the board said they chose to have the tests outsourced for grading last year in order to save money on substitutes and paying overtime, and that it did not make sense to have them graded in-house this year if they have to be sent out next year anyway.

Camhi said it might be too late to have the agency grade them, but Dr. Laria said he would contact them and see. The board approved the recommendation pending the availability of EVI, the testing agency.

About the decision, Dr. Laria said, “Last year’s decision was the exception; this is going back to the norm…the consensus was that grading in-house is more effective product-wise.”  

News

If Heather Lehrman is not yet a familiar face to local pet owners, her name is likely to soon become a household name to dog lovers and families with young children, as her children’s book, Bullied at the Dog Park, was released this week. The book is based on a real-life incident with her own dog, Herbie, and fans will have a chance to meet her and Herbie at a book signing at Petco in Glen Cove on Saturday, Oct. 25.

 

“I wanted to help get the message out in my own way about the effects of bullying,” says Lehrman, a resident of Great Neck. “This book teaches children valuable lessons about treating all dogs (and people) with respect, and the importance of simple kindness.”

It was Dec. 31, 1999, the last day of the 20th century, and Florence Dolling was preparing an elaborate Thai dinner for a New Year’s Eve celebration in her home in Glen Cove when the phone rang.  It was her doctor reporting that, “Yes, it was breast cancer.” She kept on cooking, attempting to retain as much normalcy as she could muster, knowing that, with the new millennium, there would certainly come change.

 

“I wore a red strapless bustier for the party because I thought I was saying goodbye to the ‘girls’,” she says. “My husband, my sense of humor, and my friends, helped me get through that night,” she recalls.


Sports

On Tuesday, Oct. 7, the Glen Cove Finley Middle School opened their football season with a home game against Thompson Middle School. The game opened with the Glen Cove offense going on a nice drive, which saw quarterback Mike Vaughan score on a 30-yard touchdown run. 

Six North Shore High School athletes competed in the 2014 JCC Maccabi Games and led the New York Delegation to victory, winning gold. The students included Jacob Abramowitz, Brett Bennett, Drew Jacklin, Ben Lerner, Josh Mandell, and Ben Saltzman. The Maccabi Games is a week-long Olympic tournament for Jewish teenage athletes, ages 14-16 years old. It is held in numerous venues across the United States. 

 

Bennett proudly said, “Competing in the Maccabi Games was a unique and thrilling experience for me. It not only was a highly competitive basketball tournament, but it also emphasized the importance of building strong values such as good sportsmanship, leadership, team unity, compassion and respect.

This, for me, was an experience of a lifetime!” 


Calendar

PTA Meeting - October 15

Live Music - October 16

Wine Tasting - October 17


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