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Risk Assessment Report Discussed At Herricks

The results of the Herrick School District’s Annual Initial Risk Assessment report were discussed at the Oct. 24 school board meeting, detailing the internal controls of Herricks schools; where they excelled, and where they needed to improve.

Board welcomed representatives of their internal auditor, Pappas and Company, who were present at the meeting that evening to give a rundown of their findings for Herricks’ 2013 fiscal year, according to Helen Costigan, assistant superintendent for business.

“We have three auditors...last board meeting, we heard the report of the external auditor – they do an actual, complete financial audit,” she said. “This time we will be hearing from the internal auditors, who review procedures regarding our assets, and they make recommendations and look into different areas.”

The areas that the internal auditors from Pappas and Company looked at included Herricks’ Information Technology, special Eeducation costs and staff attendance.

The auditors found that Herricks website was very adequate as far as its ability to communicate information to the community, but suggested that the district adopt alternate means of communication, including email blasts.

The district’s special education programs was found to be well-run as far as it’s operating costs and billing went, but the Pappas and Company representatives suggested the creation of an operating manual to deal with issues of turnover and the transitions of new employees to their new assignments.

And finally, the auditors applauded Herricks’ adoption of the Aesop Attendance Sub Caller program, which employees can use to electronically inform the district of absences and arrange the use of substitute teachers; the Pappas and Company said that the Board should consider expanding the use of Aesop from teachers, teacher assistants, aides, and nurses, to other employees as well, such as custodians and buildings and grounds personnel.

The board of education also voted to approve the license agreement with the Tilles Center for the district’s 2014 Middle School Graduation; however, while the measure was passed, Board President James Gounaris took exception with the fact that the Tilles Center, despite several factors that contributed to an unpleasant graduation ceremony hosted at their facility last year, still saw fit to raise their fee for the Herricks district this year an additional $300 for a total of $9,013.

“We had no air conditioning last year, which made things very uncomfortable,” he said. “There also wasn’t enough staff and it lead to some security concerns...there was a big jam in the lobby and the staircases, and there was very little staff to direct things. One person falling and they would have been trampled. It was really brutal at that point, and we would like some compensation for our experience last year, as opposed to paying an extra $300 more.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John E. Bierwirth echoed Gounaris’ sentiments regarding the Tilles Center,

“Our previous graduation ceremonies at the Tilles Center are great, but last year was not as good of an experience,” he said. “It was not up to their standards.”

It was also announced that the school district will be outsourcing the grading of New York State teacher assessment testing to an outside company in order to reduce the workload of in-house staff; this was a measure, Superintendent Bierwirth said, that was likely coming in the near future anyway.

“Since these tests are tied to teacher’s evaluation scores, the state is probably going to force districts to send them out to a third party state-wide pretty soon,” he said. “So, what we’re doing is probably what’s going to happen across the state.”

Also, a successful agreement with cafeteria staff in regards to their new contract was revealed at the meeting; their previous contract had ended a year ago.

News

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.

The Village of New Hyde Park finished its Operation Main Street project just in time, because the town’s eligibility for federal funds is shrinking, officials announced last week.

“The qualifications revolve around money,” trustee Donald Barbieri said. “Like how much income is being earned by people in the area. I guess as seniors move on, you can’t buy an [expensive home] and it changed the demographic, shrinking our eligible area.”


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



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