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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

 It has been five years since a particularly heavy rainfall closed all the beaches in Glen Cove including Crescent Beach. As per Nassau County Department of Health standards, beaches are ordered closed after heavy rainfall because of storm water runoff that adversely affects bacteria levels at local beaches. Typically, bacteria levels subside within a day or so, allowing for the beaches to be reopened. This was not the way it went with one popular beach after the June 2009 rain storm.

 

“Unfortunately, this was not the case with Crescent Beach,” said Glen Cove Parks & Recreation Director, Darcy Belyea, at last Wednesday night’s public forum at Glen Cove City Hall. “Elevated levels of microbiological contamination continued to be found in the bathing water months after the heavy rain and recent samples show they are still elevated today.”

 

Belyea was one of a number of panelists at the public forum, which included Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello, City Attorney Charles McQuair, Director of the Hempstead Harbor Protection Committee Eric Swenson and representatives from the Nassau County Department of Health. 

Movie lovers once again have a chance to see first-run films in the theater without having to travel far. Glen Cove Cinemas re-opened last week, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and free films offered to celebrate the occasion. 

 

“Thanks to all of the support we have here and all of you, Glen Cove is once again open for business,” said Mayor Reginald Spinello at the ceremony, held outside the theater on Thursday, April 10. “We were scheduled to open last week, and there were a few things that weren’t ready...I got a call from the theater operator, Jay Levinson, and he told me that unfortunately, that day Spiderman had the flu,” he joked. “But, Spiderman is well and Glen Cove is well, and we are coming back strong. This is just the beginning. This is going to be so good for Glen Cove and the surrounding communities.”


Sports

 

Glen Cove High School players, from left, Tajah Garner, Dejon Taylor, Manny Sican, and Ralik Jackson, after the Long Island Colts u18’s team vs. St. Anthony’s at Robert Finley Middle School last week. Touchdown ‘tries’ by Garner, Taylor and Sican.


The third- and fourth-grade Knights took to the road last weekend as they faced off against Jericho early Sunday morning, April 6.  Jericho’s teamwork and hustle brought down the Knights by a final score of 5 – 0.  The early game may have been a factor as the boys started to play better and more like a team as the game went on.  Once again, goalie Tyler Shea played outstanding in goal and was relieved by Christian Maiorano, who did just as well in the second half.  Andrew Guster played solid defense in the loss.


Calendar

Eggstravaganza - April 16

Live Music - April 16

Community Easter Egg Hunt - April 19


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