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Budget Includes Staff Reductions

The Sewanhaka Central High School District 2014-15 budget up for vote next Tuesday, May 20 includes a $2,910,204 reduction in spending, with cuts including 13 teaching positions. These teacher cuts were achieved through retirements, 1.5 clerical positions, and cutting 12 teaching assistants.

 

“Our two guiding principles were to preserve student programs and to preserve as many jobs as possible,” said Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Dr. Cheryl Champ. “The cuts will really be across all content areas and affect each of the buildings in different ways.”

 

The budget is in line with New York State's requirement of a 1.56 percent tax levy increase.

 

During the annual budget hearing on Tuesday, May 6 at Sewanhaka High School, details were offered on the $175,309,961 budget.

 

The total budget for 2014-15 is $3,523,634 higher than in 2013-14, a 2.1 percent increase in spending, with the bulk going towards employee benefits, which are projected to rise by $3,702,729 to a total of $46,766,023. The district is projecting a decrease in spending of $330,053 on salaries, dropping to $96,226,556, and will spend $60,523 less on supplies. The second-largest increase in spending will be on BOCES tuition/ textbooks, at $374,274.

 

State aid increased $1,434,046 since last year, representing a 5.2 percent bump. All revenues for the district are projected to be flat next year, with the only increase coming from state aid and the tax levy.

 

The total tax levy for 2014-15 is at $135,912,301, an increase of $2,089,588 from 2013-14. Other savings areas include the centralizing of security at the buildings through security cameras and a partnership with BOCES ($598,259) and maintenance staff ($352,650), the elimination of the transitional content area classes at H. Frank Carey, reducing the graphic design course within the career and technical education program and cutting software costs through negotiations with the current provider ($200,000).

 

“Students will be able to receive the same content through courses at their home schools,” Dr. Champ said of graphic design. “So a variety of different courses put together will give them that same content.”

 

A new “twilight” GED program in the afternoon overseen by Nassau BOCES will be implemented in 2014-15 at $304,422 as well as the reintroduction of a limited adult education program in Spring 2015 at no cost to Sewanhaka. Also at no cost to the district will be a second PALS class at H. Frank Carey and a pilot program for co-teaching all the high schools in specific grade levels.

 

“It’s a perfect opportunity to make a transition there, “Dr. Champ said of the GED program, “because thanks to common core, the state has restructured our GED program in the state, changed the name, changed the entire structure of the exam, therefore the course needs to match.”

 

A $269,621 decrease in the capital fund line from $1,108,564 was pointed out by assistant superintendent of finance Kevin O’Brien, who said that the district did so to stay under the tax cap but “we did want to identify projects we felt critical to get done in next year’s budget; they were pulled out of the bond that was issued... back in December.”

 

The December 2013 bond totaled about $99.5 million—with the state picking up about 40 percent of the cost, would have paid for a large planned expansion of Sewanhaka High School itself as well as renovations to other district auditoriums, gyms, air conditioning and heating units, roofs and addressed deteriorating masonry work, to name a few. Voters turned the measure down only by a margin of 293 votes.

 

The proposed capital projects at the component schools and their totals are as follows: Elmont: steam pipe and trap replacement, refurbishment of the softball field – $67,725; Floral Park: sand, paint and refinish gym floor, install a handicapped ramp access to bleachers at athletic field – $65,185; H. Frank Carey: replace elevator – $267,514; New Hyde Park: paint gym and replace ceiling, new windows on west side of building – $240,424; Sewanhaka: replace six doors, replace Covert Avenue fencing, replace lockers, new auto shop lifts and garage door, installation of a handicapped-access toilet – $198,095.

 

One of the new items from the state has to do with a tax freeze from Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of the annual state budget in which the state would refund a homeowner’s tax increase for 2014-15 in late October or early November.

 

“What that would do, say the $50 increase in the average homeowner, they would get that back as a credit and in year two they would get accommodation of the increase from the 13-14 budget to 14-15 plus an increase from the 14-15 to 15-16 budget,” O’Brien said, noting the homeowner also has to be STAR eligible.


News

When it comes to fitness, getting off the couch is half the battle.

 

Plenty of people start each day with the best of intentions, but plans to eat healthy and get to the gym often fall by the wayside with even the most shoddy of excuses. But a New

Hyde Park native is bringing physical fitness to the front door with a mobile, personal traning regimen focusing on individualized one-on-one fitness, group sessions and corporate fitness. 

The Herricks School District recently concluded a series of contract negotiations with the administrators and teachers of the district. Though talks were reportedly difficult, both sides were able to come to an agreement.

 

However, at the Nov. 20 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, Board President James Gounaris revealed that another bout of negotiations taking place with teaching assistants, which have taken an unfortunate turn for the worse.


Sports

The students of Herricks High School were treated to a “Blast from the Past” as the Herricks High School Class of 1964 during this year’s Homecoming celebration.  Approximately 60 members of the class of 1964 arrived at the high school on homecoming day for a tour of their alma mater.  Most of these alumni had not been back to the high school since graduating 50 years ago.

 

All were impressed with the changes that have taken place and with the friendly demeanor of our high school students. One alumnus became teary eyed when he ventured out into the courtyard.

Despite a disappointing playoff loss against the Wantagh Warriors, Sewanhaka Indians Head Coach George Kasimatis, is pleased with his football team’s season. 

“I’m proud of my team,” he said. “But you are never satisfied unless you win the whole thing.”

 

The Indians faced a big challenge this year, moving up into Conference II left them as the new kids on the block, unfamiliar with the teams they would be going against. 

Kasimatis will have a tall task next year replacing graduating seniors, which made up most of his starting lineup. Kasimatis said most of the offensive line, such as Danny Gianotti, Adrian Gonzalez and Louis Segarra III, and the defensive line, such as Justin Alexandre, Peter LaTorre and Peter Militano are seniors, many of which have started multiple years for him. 


Calendar

Songfest - November 26

International Night - November 27

Blood Drive - November 29


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