When does 1 + 1 = 3? The answer is, ironically, when it involves schools and education. Specifically, the new math takes over when the school budget and the tax levy are touted as staying within the NYS-imposed 2 percent tax cap. But in this first-year test of the new hard-won tax cap, the tax levy will actually rise nearly 3 percent because our NYS Legislature cannot enact any legislation without loopholes. Neither can they find the political will to eliminate or reduce the state mandates that are not adequately funded by the school aid that is provided by the state. So this makes the loopholes necessary.
We are very fortunate to have a community that is committed to our schools. Thanks to your strong support, the excellent achievements of our students in academics, the arts, and athletics have been recognized as among the best in the country. In addition, proactive fiscal planning and careful oversight by our trustees has continued to result in a strong financial position for the district - we remain in a better financial position this year than many other school districts.
In January, we made a decision to stay within the New York State cap on the allowable tax levy limit. Trustees cut an additional $1.45 million from the initial budget draft. The adopted budget for 2012-13 (Proposition 1) represents a 1.85 percent increase from last year - the smallest budget-to-budget percentage increase in two decades.
Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting Glen Cove’s Animal Lovers’ League with District Attorney Kathleen Rice to announce a bill increasing penalties for those found guilty of animal cruelty.
The league’s work is remarkable because of the outstanding volunteer effort that Joan Phillips and her crew perform every day. Their tireless work in rescuing cats and dogs, sheltering, feeding, walking, and protecting them and attending to their medical needs is second-to-none.
We are the presidents of the seven executive boards of the parent organizations of the five schools, SEPTA and the coordinating council for the North Shore School District. Our main objective is to assist in improving the quality of instructional/academic programs within the schools from a parent’s perspective. As a group we strive to remain current and informed on all issues impacting our schools.
With the mild winter we enjoyed this year, the annual transition to spring may not have been as obvious to some. However, if you were in Glen Cove this past weekend, you couldn’t have missed the opening day of Junior Baseball and Softball as the youngsters and their coaches marched from the middle school on Forest Avenue to the John Maccarone Stadium for the annual parade, led by the Glen Cove High School drum line. As we march to the stadium I always enjoy looking back at the line of young boys and girls in their uniforms as they carry their banners along the parade route. It is a wonderful sight to behold at the start of our Opening Day Ceremony, which is as small town and American as it gets.
With the cost of oil on the rise, serious competition between gas distributors has caused many stations to charge outrageous amounts for a gallon of gasoline. In fact, some gas merchants have been known to continuously raise their prices over the course of a 24-hour period, often dramatically increasing consumer costs without the actual price of gas going up. This predatory practice, known as price gouging, allows a deceitful gas distributor to make unreasonable profits at a time when many families are struggling to make ends meet.
As gas prices constantly fluctuate, we must make sure local families don’t fall victim to price gouging at the pumps. That’s why the assembly passed legislation I helped pass that would ban gas stations from adjusting their prices multiple times daily (A.1970). Distributors usually purchase their gas wholesale and at a fixed rate, allowing many stations to unfairly take advantage of consumers at a time when gas prices are at the highest levels in months.
On March 29, an informational meeting was held to consider development of approximately 15 acres at Glen Cove Mansion. It was received with great concern. Twenty-five duplex buildings are proposed and will be known at North Manor Estates.
It was met with mixed reactions and became a venue for expressing concerns about roads, two years of construction, impact on schools, sewers, driveways and more.
This Monday I witnessed the legislature’s Rules Committee session, during which those legislators who support County Executive Mangano approved a contract between Nassau County and the investment bank of Morgan Stanley.
The deal they voted for would have Morgan Stanley financially evaluate our county’s sewer system (put a price on it), and then would have that same bank go out and broker a deal for someone to operate the system based on that information.
In the past few weeks, the first installment of the transaction entered into by Mayor Suozzi and the city of Glen Cove CSEA employees was paid out in the amount of $67,654.00.
This amount was calculated based on terms of the new contract, 1 percent increase, retroactive to January 1, 2010, to the city workers, the other increases are as follows: 1.5 percent retroactive to January 1, 2011 to be paid out in June 2012; 2.5 percent for the year 2012; 2.5 percent increase for the year 2013; and 2.5 percent increase for the year 2014.
Beginning with my first encounter with Toni Labbate, I have been impressed with her dedication to our school district. I have seen her function in a variety of roles from mother to book club leader to member of the Legislative Action Committee (LAC). She also has served as treasurer of the Glen Head Parent Teacher Organization and is currently a member of the fifth grade graduation committee.
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