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GNPS Adopt Budget For 2012-2013 School Year

Budget hearings indicate public support and approval of upcoming budget

For the second year in a row, the Great Neck Public Schools budget stays below the state mandated 2 percent tax levy cap. The 2012-13 budget of $199,747,079 was approved at the board of education’s April 17 official budget hearing. The board of education voluntarily kept the current budget increase under 2 percent, and for this year’s new state mandate for the upcoming budget, the board held to a 3.32 percent increase that also stays below the cap (via a complicated state issued formula).

The current budget for the 2011-12 school year is $193,324,596.

During a brief discussion period prior to adoption of the budget, Trustee Donald Ashkenase spoke of his pleasure over the fact that none of the previous budget hearings this year had brought out any opposition. The school district and the school budget consistently enjoy strong public support and Mr. Ashkenase, a member of the school board’s finance committee, is hopeful that this year will prove the same.

“We couldn’t be more fortunate in having our administrative leadership,” Mr. Ashkenase also said. And Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz agreed, adding a “thank you” to Superintendent of Schools Thomas Dolan, Assistant Superintendent for Business John Powell and the members of their staff. Ms. Berkowitz emphasized the school district’s hard work in once again managing not to exceed the tax levy cap.

The $199,747,079 budget for the 2012-13 school year amounts to $186,767,774 (2.49 percent) to be raised by real property tax.

Again, by far the largest percent of the budget, 74.56 percent, is devoted to instruction. This is even higher than this year’s percentage, which is 73.77 percent. Buildings and grounds are next, with 10.83 percent of the budget devoted to this portion. Transportation accounts for 6.42 percent, general support is 4.31 percent, adult education and recreation is 1.68 percent, debt service is 1.28 percent, and capital projects accounts to .92 percent.

As for the budget’s revenue numbers, the bulk, 94.15 percent, is to be raised by property tax, with 3.23 percent from state aid, and 2.6 percent listed as miscellaneous. The state aid, which was about 15 percent over 30 years ago, is 3.4 percent this year, having decreased greatly over the years.

Voting on the 2012-2013 school budget is Tuesday, May 15. School district voters living north of the railroad tracks vote at the E.M. Baker Elementary School. Voters living south of the railroad tracks vote at Great Neck South High School. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

News

The recent adoption the Common Core Learning Standards, a rigorous series of teacher and student assessment testing, and the potential sharing of confidential student information with third parties have resulted in a radical change in the educational landscape in New York State—one that many parents have been concerned about.

To address these growing concerns, the Great Neck School District’s United Parent Teacher Council recently hosted a question and answer session at South High School with New York State Regent Roger Tilles, a Great Neck resident who has been outspoken with both his support of content the Common Core and his disapproval in how the new set of learning standards have been implemented.

At a meeting last week, after almost four hours of back and forth between Clover Drive residents, the attorney representing builder Frank Lalazarian’s controversial Old Mill II project and members of the Village of Great Neck’s Planning Board, there was very little progress, no vote taken and far more questions than answers.

The subdivision plan, a project under discussion for the last five years and recently approved by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, calls for 11 houses to be built in the area behind the Old Mill Apartments, with sole access from Clover Drive. Complicating the builder’s efforts to gain approval to start building is the fact that one of the lots is within the boundaries of Great Neck Estates and will require that village’s approval also.  Additionally, Lalazarian’s project must gain the approval of several Nassau County agencies, including its department of public works, department of health and planning commission.


Sports

The Bears team before a recent game at the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink with Coach Dan Marsella.

Great Neck’s Ayal Hod is the proud coach of Great Neck’s winning Top Gun sixth grade team in the Island Garden Fall League. Hod puts together the team every season, mixing local youngsters from Great Neck and children son Dillon’s AAU Jamaica Queens team. The league is very competitive and challenging and it teaches the children many valuable lessons: “how to be great teammates by sharing the ball, how to compete hard on every possession and what you put in is what you get out.”

Hod says that the main challenge is for every child to bring their individual talent to the team and collectively they have something special. an ex-player, he says that “basketball was very good to me, it helped pay my college education and it  paid my-bills for many years to come via several basketball commercials ... basketball also opened many doors for me and it helped me tremendously in my business career.”

Hod enjoys sharing his basketball journey background with his son and his friends and having them learn lessons too.


Calendar

Park District Swim

Saturday, Dec. 7

Board of Education Meeting

Monday, Dec. 9

Peter Max Exhibit Presentation

Tuesday, December 10



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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