At the outset of the last Herricks School Board meeting, Herricks Board President Richard Buckley announced that the "geese are gone!"
He said that the company the board hired to rid the area of the geese, Geese Off, were able to rid the fields and areas of geese in record time and therefore the cost to the district was not as much as was originally anticipated.
In board announcements Dr. Deirdre Hayes announced the following student accomplishments:
Dr. Hayes announced that 41 members of the Herricks Chapter of DECA attended the 49th Annual New York DECA State Career Conference held in Rochester, New York. The students had advanced from the Nassau County competition that took place in January.
Of the 41 students who attended, nine will be advancing to the International Career Development Conference in April that will take place in Anaheim, California.
The students advancing are: Kevin Ziet, Neil Patel, Rohan Patel, Jaskaran Singh, Akit Shah, Jared Saporta, Nabil Ahmed and Radha Byagari.
Each student tested their knowledge and presentation skills in a business topic of their choice. They were tested with a written exam as well as by performing two role-plays in front of a business executive who acted as a judge.
The Herricks Chapter of DECA has more than 230 members and for the past four years has had the largest membership in New York State.
At the end of March eight Herricks High Science Research students competed in the New York State Science and Engineering Fair held at the New York Hall of Science.
Students participating in the fair included:
Susie Ahn, Calvin Ho, Neil Patel, Vijay Raj, Abhay Goyal, Foram Parikh, Sajni Parikh and Stephanie Yang.
Sajni Parikh received the first place award in Plant Sciences; Calvin Ho received first place in Biochemistry and received a $15,000 scholarship to Ohio Wesleyan University.
Neil Patel received a second place award in Bioengineering.
Additionally, Calvin Ho and Sanji Parikh both received certificates of achievement from the United States Air Force for their research projects.
Vinjay Raj won a 2nd Place Award and Calvin Ho won a 3rd Place Award at the Taiwan International Science Fair.
Twenty-four students from Mrs. Thompson's United States Constitutional Issues class placed second at the New York State, We The People, The Citizen and The Constitution Finals held in Albany. They also earned the title of Long Island Champions. The students worked hard for seven months preparing their congressional hearings. It was reported that the judges were impressed with their ability to think on their feet, as well as their ability to create well thought out and poignant arguments to the judge's questions.
The Chamber Orchestra was invited to participate in the National Orchestra Festival, Atlanta, GA. The orchestra was there with American String Teachers Association and was one of only 15 orchestras invited throughout the country.
Dr. Bierwirth said in regard to the bond project, "No normal person would say something like this, but the state education department is reviewing the reviews!"
Dr. Bierwirth went on to say that he added his own As, Bs and Cs to the state aid projections and he said, "They have actually been useful."
He said, "A-is that we anticipate getting, next year, in basic aid and its $100,000 more than we got this year. So the $800,000 or $900,000 cut which we were anticipating is no longer. So up $100,000 instead of going down $800,000. B- which was a section in Newsday-is another piece of federal money. In fact, there are three pieces of federal money. One went to the state and was redistributed to us through the state-aid formula. The second is Title One which is additional Title One money. We get none of it and most of the districts on Long Island will get none of it. New York City, I believe is getting 75 to 85 percent of those monies.
"The third piece is, in our case, projected to be $460,000, next year a similar amount for 2010/11. What I do know is that it isn't money that will come to the general fund and therefore, it cannot be used to offset taxes. Beyond that, it is unclear.
"Assistant Superintendent for Business Helen Costigan and I will be participating in a conference call based on this and we hope to know more by then and what strings are attached. But, we do know that we cannot use those monies to offset taxes."
Bierwirth continued, "With the restoration of the monies for state aid as revenue, instead of what we projected, puts the tax rate (levy) at 1.99 percent so it drops by a little over a percent. So, that's where we are and it's a whole lot better than anticipated. We are going to get $460,000 more, but we have no idea how we can use it."
Costigan added that the $400,000 is only over two years and it won't be there the third year.
It was also pointed out that May 7 there will be the budget hearing, as well as a regular meeting and that will be held at the Herricks Community Center, 999 Herricks Road, New Hyde Park.
Costigan went on to report on the Lunch Program. She said that she follows it very closely. She said that last year there was a deficit, but is hoping to break even this year. She said they have been struggling to get there.
She went on to say, "In terms of equipment, we have new warmers and they have been installed at Center Street and during the spring break they will be installed at Denton and Searingtown schools. The new food service director really works hard and he has meetings with the kids and with their parents. We are following this very closely. This director is working day to day and part of the reason we are close to breaking even is that we had to raise prices."
The board then continued on its regular agenda, which included appointing Karin Falcone as a parent member of the Committee on Special Education.
The board voted to approve a Universal Pre-K program for the coming school year for 55 students as allotted by New York State for the Herricks District.
Harbor Child Care was re-appointed as the collaborative agency to provide Universal Pre-K services and will operate the program in compliance with all of the state regulations on Universal Pre-K.
The Herricks board set the salary for the May election and vote for the chairperson and chief election inspectors at $14.35 per hour and for the Inspectors of Election and Assistant Clerks at $12.93 per hour. This does not represent an increase. There has been no increase since May of 2002.
The board voted to approve the use of Math Textbooks as well as the French textbook.
Further, the board approved a transportation bid and approved various Special Education contracts and approved the extension of a contract for road service, maintenance and repairs of district schools buses and vans with Nesco Bus Maintenance at no additional cost.
The next board meeting will be held on April 21, a Tuesday. It will be a regular meeting and a BOCES hearing and will be held at the Herricks Community Center, 999 Herricks Road, New Hyde Park.