Written by Emily Cappiello, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 29 May 2014 09:10
The anticipation was palpable as parents, staff, faculty and school board candidates packed the late-night Hicksville Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, May 20 waiting to hear the results of the elections.
When the budget numbers and school board elections arrived in the board room, the attention immediately turned to those. The 2014-15 school budget passed with 1,360 votes for and 525 votes against. The total budget for the 2014-15 district budget is $127.9 million, an increase of 2.7 percent from 2013-14’s budget of $124.5 million. The tax levy increase is .09 percent. Additionally, both capital reserve budgets — one for improvements and one for technology — also passed. The proposition for the Gregory Museum and the Hicksville Library budget passed as well.
With three seats up for re-election on the Board, two incumbents (who were running unopposed) reclaimed their seats. Kevin Carroll received 1,137 votes, and Stephen Culhane garnered 1,114 votes. In a heated race for Dolores Garger’s seat (she did not seek re-election) Michael Beneventano came out the victor with 842 total votes against David Jao, who got 660 votes.
At the meeting, the board also tackled some regular business, including accepting a donation of $1,000 from Bethpage Federal Credit Union and setting a July 2, 2014 board re-organization meeting.
With current superintendent Maureen Bright deciding not to renew her contract at the end of the 2014-15 school year, the board also made a motion to work with their legal counsel to take the beginning steps in finding a new superintendent of schools.
School board president Phil Heckler also explained that he was looking for ways to streamline communication to the Board of Education as well as grow parent participation. The board decided to deactivate their board phone numbers, which will help save some money. They will now publish their board email addresses in the calendar and online so that anyone who needs to contact the board would be able to email them.
Additionally, Heckler brought up the idea of holding school board meetings in the schools instead of in the board room to increase attendance.
“I was talking to some people in some other districts, and they told me that they sometimes hold board meetings in school auditoriums,” Heckler said. “It’s a bit bigger in there and maybe more people would join.”
After a discussion between the board as well as gathered attendees, the board decided that it would try out having two committee meetings at different schools, instead of keeping them solely in the board room.
“We will develop a calendar and identify where the meetings will be held,” added Bright.