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Local Districts: State Aid Not Enough

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $137 billion spending plan will increase education aid by $807 million for the 2014-2015 school year, but school officials say it will still put them up against the wall. 

 

“I am hoping the state aid will bring more than anticipated but there are particulars we will need to comply with [in some areas] in order to [perhaps] realize the additions,” said Glen Cove Superintendent Maria L. Rianna.

 

Based on the preliminary budget figures, the Glen Cove City School District will receive $393,687 more than last year, or a total of $8,465,104—an increase of 4.88 percent.

  

 North Shore School District is slated to receive $3,694,981, which is actually lower than the 2013-14 state aid approved by the State Legislature. “The total amount of state aid approved for North Shore, excluding all special grants last year by the State Legislature was $3,855,975. The Governor’s  2014-15 state aid slated for North Shore is $3,694,981 which is $160,994 less than what the Legislature approved for the district in 2013-14,” said Olivia Buatsi, assistant superintendent for North Shore School District.

 

“It is less because the governor compared his own executive budget proposals for the 2013-14 fiscal year to his state aid estimates for next year,  2014-15. The governor’s state aid estimates are most of the time lower than the final numbers the state legislature

adopts every year,” said Buatsi. “In fact, if I compare the legislative budget to the governor’s proposal for North Shore we will see a  4.2 percent decrease in state aid.”

 

For both districts, state aid has become a major concern since 2010, when Gov. Cuomo capped school districts' abilities to hike the tax levy more than two percent. 

 

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.  

 

Buatsi is not alone in her disdain for the proposed state aid increases. According to Timothy G. Kremer, the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association, the $807 million increase statewide would leave schools unable to continue their current programs and services without exceeding the tax cap.

 

“While the governor’s budget contains many laudable issues such as state-funded universal prekindergarten and after-school programs, his state aid allocation falls way short of the mark,” Kremer said. “We appreciate the governor’s leadership in putting forward a $2 billion proposal for technology and capital costs associated with full-day prekindergarten expansion, but hope that the Legislature will increase the state’s investment in general support for public schools.”

 

Since the executive budget has not yet been approved by state lawmakers, the amount of state aid is subject to change. 

 

“I think the Legislature will adopt a higher education budget for 2014-15, they always do. The district will therefore receive a bit more than the  $3,855,975 we are slated to receive in 2013-14.  With the exception of one year, the past budgets adopted by the legislature have always been higher than the governor’s in the last 25 years,” said Buatsi.


News

Sea Cliff author Margaret Gay Malone is one of 11 authors whose short stories have been selected for publication in the Tuscany Press Anthology in 2015. 

 

The story, Jimmy’s Gift, centers around a boy whose generosity and selflessness put him in danger on a brutally cold and snowy day. Malone says it is based on a true story after reading a blurb in Reader’s Digest a few years ago about a 12-year-old boy who walked through the snow to help deliver food baskets to those in need; and it turned out that his family’s name was also on the list of those in need of help in the community.

Members of the Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club and their families will be treated to a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday, Nov. 25, an event that has become an annual tradition for local families. 

 

This will be the 14th year that Andrea Correale, the president of Elegant Affairs Caterers, has donated this festive dinner, which in the past has served more 250 adults and children with a full turkey with all the trimmings followed by the always-fun ice cream bar. 

 

I can’t even believe it’s been 14 years,” says Correale. “And so many of the same people come back year after year.”


Sports

The Glen Cove High School girls basketball team was invited to participate in the prestigious KSA Holiday Basketball Tournament that will be held in Orlando, FL, this December. The tournament brings to the court teams from all over the United States that would otherwise not be competing. It is held in the finest professional and amateur athletic venues around the nation with teams seeded into brackets that will provide an appropriate level of competition. 

The North Shore Women’s Cross Country Team won the Nassau County Class I Championship for the eighth consecutive year. They will be competing in the State Qualifier Competition at Bethpage State Park this month.


Calendar

Annual Shop Glen Cove Showcase - November 19

Native American Feast - November 22-23

NSHS Fall Musical - November 21-22 


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