Written by Emily Cappiello Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00
Island Trees School District started the budget process on Wednesday, February 27 at the first of a series of budget meetings. Each school principal had the opportunity to present their budgets, all down from previous years, while the board had a chance to ask questions and make cuts.
However, a new tech program started at the high school level last year, as well as some questionable budget allotments, put Nick Grande, high school principal, in the hot seat.
Last year, the high school began offering a new tech course, and Grande explained that it did not take the place of another course; the school just had less children in other sections. Patricia Mahon, school board president, said that she – and the rest of the board – were not made aware of the new program and was not happy about it.
“We are doing budget cuts,” she said. “If we are creating a new subject area, I know I would like to know about it, as would the rest of the board.”
In addition, agenda pads for high school freshman got cut as well as money for departmental meetings. “If they want to supply cookies and snacks for their departmental meetings, tell them to reach into their pockets,” Mahon said.
The budgets for the other schools went a little more smoothly with very little suggestions of cuts. “If we are operating within a 2 percent tax cap as a board, we are hoping that everyone is keeping their costs flat or a little below last year,” said Mahon.
However, Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy explained that the pension situation is a balloon and he is hopeful that the Governor will find a way to handle it. “With 2016 coming up fast, I am sure that by the end, they will find some relief with the pension situation,” he said, inferring that the Governor will want to run for President of the United States and will want to be able to have something to show the rest of the country.
The district also discussed how planning for last year ended up saving the district additional headaches and costs in the end, with BOCES having to return money to the district as well as the County Guaranty not going through. “Because we budgeted for the County Guaranty, we now have a little cushion,” Murphy said.
Before the meeting adjourned, however, a concerned parent brought a circulating rumor to the board about a school building being sold. “We’re selling a building, that’s the rumor that is going around. Is that true? Are we really selling a building?,” she asked.
“Anything is a possibility,” replied Murphy, who explained that BOCES will be returning a building to them at the end of this year and that the district will need to look for other sources of income for that building.
“But, what if it is partitioned and rented for different things. I know in business that you never want to lose property, so doesn’t it make sense to keep the building?,” she replied.
Murphy cited that enrollment has been steadily decreasing during the past 17 years and there is really no reason to keep a building that will most likely continue to remain vacant. “Like I said,” he explained, “Anything is a possibility.”
Saturday, 25 May 2013 00:00
Seeking to ensure that our children are even safer, the Great Neck School District is set to provide even more security in all of the district’s buildings. To this end, the Board of Education continues to consider new policies and revisions of existing policies. For the Policy on Code of Conduct: Visitors to the Schools, this new revision addresses a “more cautious approach” to visitors in the schools.
The school board held the first of at least three required hearings on the proposal at the April 8 public action meeting and again at the April 17 meeting. The policy revision was approved and adopted at the May 13 public action meeting.
Friday, 24 May 2013 00:00
For jazz saxophonist Sam Dillon, returning to North High School upon the invitation of Joseph Rutkowski, director of instrumental music, was an opportunity to spend time with classical music students and give them an intimate glimpse into making jazz and becoming a professional musician. He says, “It was so nice to come back to North High and see the school through more mature eyes ... Mr. Rutkowski is such an amazing teacher ... He really treats his students like professional musicians and expects them to give their best ... I can be in the middle of a gig and still hear his voice ringing in my ear.”
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
The North High School Relay for Life Committee, in conjunction with the American Cancer Society and the Town of North Hempstead, will host the fourth annual Relay for Life event at the North High School football field (corner of Polo and Beach Roads), on Saturday, June 1, from 2 p.m. to midnight, rain or shine. This fundraiser aims to incorporate an element of solidarity for those touched by cancer; it is an opportunity to remember, reflect, and fight back.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
The North Shore Kayak Club will hold its annual kayaking clinic, targeted to novice recreational kayakers and those interested in the sport, on Tuesday, May 28. It is scheduled for 7 p.m., at the Town Dock in Port Washington, by the kayak docks (to the left of the fishing pier when facing the water).