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BOE Presents Budget

The Hicksville Board of Education presented its budget for the upcoming school year at a board meeting on May 7.

“The board looks at all the pieces together in order to figure out what is important in regards to the budget,” said Maureen Bright, Superintendent of Schools.

The total budget for the 2014-15 district budget is $127.9 million. Of that, $2.5 million is from the fund balance and an additional $3.07 million has been taken from the district’s reserves to fill the budget gap. The 2014-15 budget is an increase of 2.7% from 2013-14’s budget of $124.5 million. The tax levy increase is .09%. The budget for the year will result in a $4 increase per home from last year, a total of $4,859 for the year.  

“We continually look at ways to save the district money and we always will,” explained Bright.  “We look at a multi-year plan on using our reserves and we decided to use $3 million for the 2014-15 school year. We did that last year as well.”

While many school districts on Long Island have seen a significant decline in enrollment, Hicksville has stayed steady and is not expecting a decline in the coming years. The district has the eighth lowest tax rate on Long Island and projects to spend about $20,617 per student in the 2014-15 school year.

“We are very tight with how we spend our money, however, our students have excelled in a wide variety of areas,” Bright explained, just before reading off some of the major student accomplishments from the past year.

For the 2014-15 budget, $11.6 million will go to pension and retirement funds and $4.9 million to Social Security. Some significant savings, explained Bright, came with nine teacher retirements. Those teachers will be replaced with new hires that will be lower on the pay scale.  

Additionally on the ballot for the 2014-15 budget will be two referendums. One is for the creation of a $1.30 million capital reserve fund for building improvements and the other is for the creation of a $500,000 technology budget. Bright explained that these funds will not cost the community any more money as the district put away funds for the tax certiorari that is currently in litigation between Nassau County and the school districts. The money will be pulled from that fund.

The budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 20. Voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Burns Avenue School, Dutch Lane School, East Street School, Fork Lane School, Lee Avenue School, Old Country Road School and Woodland School.

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



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