Written by Rich Forestano and Dave Gil de Rubio Friday, 01 February 2013 00:00
Four Nassau County school districts are to receive increases in state aid while two others are slated to see a decline, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s preliminary budget figures released last week.
The Herricks, Sewanhaka, East Williston and Elmont districts are looking at state aid increases. But the West Hempstead and New Hyde Park-Garden City Park districts are slated to see less state aid under Cuomo’s proposed figures, which may change during the legislative process this year.
Herricks School District saw a $2.29 million increase to $7,256,111, while the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District lost $134,887. The district was awarded $3,731,177 last year.
Herricks Superintendent John Bierwirth does not think the proposed numbers will stick as is, but is thankful an increase is on the table.
“It looks to us as though, one way or another, there’s going to be an increase for us,” Bierwirth said. “Whether it will be that much or not, we don’t know.”
Herricks is currently presenting more than $3 million in cuts to the board, indicating that although aid increased, it won’t cover the eliminations totally.
“We’ll be able to restore something without cutting something else but it doesn’t solve our problem.” he said. “But it helps.”
The Sewanhaka Central High School District saw a 5.9 percent increase from last years aid runs. It will receive $26,108,615 next year.
Sewanhaka officials are still analyzing aid figures reported to the district. Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie said at times, percentage increases “look a bit different than what they actually are.”
Ferrie was fine with the increase, but as of now, the district is researching 2012-13 to get a better picture of where Sewanhaka could be in 2013-14.
“We’re checking the [numbers] this year for accuracy,” he said acknowledging that because of the new tax cap legislation, the increase in state aid will lessen the impact on the amount of money we have to cut to get to the cap.”
East Williston got a slight uptick with $39,948 in district aid. The district was awarded $2,240,409 in 2012.
Assistant Superintendent for Business Jackie Fitzpatrick doesn’t expect much change to come with aid figures.
“They’ve been relatively consistent with give and take,” she said. “But for the most part, it’s been in the right direction based on a lot of estimates that have been prepared. For the most part, they’ve been fine.”
The Elmont School District received $19,589,186 in aid, an 8.4 percent increase from last year. Elmont struggled to meet the state-imposed 2 percent tax cap for the 2012-13 school year.
It took two budget votes last year for the district to pass a $78,560,346 budget. That budget held a 6.9 percent tax levy increase. Emails to Superintendent Al Harper were not answered.
The West Hempstead School District lost $311,288 in aid. It received $7,736,875 last year.
West Hempstead is working to close a $2.8 million budget gap. Deputy Superintendent Richard Cunningham expected a flat aid run, with drops in transportation aid because the district decreased that part of its budget by $1 million.
What he didn’t see coming was the decrease in high-tax aid, which most school districts in the state saw a 70 percent decrease. West Hempstead lost $364,141.
“That really hurt a lot of us,” he said. “It wiped out an increase in the state aid lines we saw.”
Outside revenue is faltering in the district, with outside residents in Island Park that pay to attend school dropping yearly along with BOCES vacating the Marian Delaney School (MDS) on Eagle Avenue. West Hempstead lost $1.2 in revenue.
“The complications of the tax cap are coming to roost,” Cunningham said. “The PILOTs (payment in lieu of taxes) for the West 130 property are coming on line this year and that decreases your allowable tax levy.”
A potential tenant is interested in MDS, but will not rent the whole building.
The senate and assembly will work to hammer out the governor’s executive budget for an April 1 adoption.
“The governor’s budget is a proposal and, as we negotiate a final budget for New York State, I will be working with my colleagues toward securing more state aid for Long Island school districts,” Senator Jack Martins said. “In this economy, every school district is a high needs district when it comes to funding.”
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
One fortunate New Hyde Park resident was rescued from the freezing cold on Tuesday, Feb. 25 thanks to Dr. Julia Harmon, DVM, of the New Hyde Park Animal Hospital. That night, at approximately 8 p.m., Harmon was going to her car after work when she saw Spike, a wandering bulldog near Brooklyn Avenue, one block from the vet’s office on Jericho Turnpike.
Harmon immediately brought Spike, who was not wearing a collar and did not have a microchip implanted for identification, back to the vet’s office. The temperature outside was already at 31 degrees, but felt like 20 degrees with the windchill. Luckily Spike was
brought in from the cold early; temperatures dropped down to 25 degrees that night.
Last Updated (Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00) Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education talked finalizing the budget for the 2014-15 school year at its work session meeting on Monday, Feb. 24. The budget will be unveiled at the March 10 meeting.
Talks at the work session centered around what is or isn’t changing next year, and the board announced that they’re dealing with a “maintenance of effort” budget that will retain all current programs and non-mandated activities. Class sizes are expected to average about 21 students.
“Yes, we are status quo for the upcoming year, and this is a great achievement. It’s an amazing feat compared to the rest of the state,” Vice President Patricia Rudd said.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
New Hyde Park Michael Castelli recently participated in the 32nd Black Belt Graduation at Charles Water Karate & Fitness, located at 122 Hillside Ave. in Williston Park. He graduated to first-degree black belt.
“Our studio teaches students how to defend themselves responsibly while instilling self-confidence, self-discipline and respect for others,” says Grandmaster Charles Water, owner and director of the school.
Students tested in October, successfully passed their exam recently and received their black belt certificates. “Who says that the youth of America are not committed? A healthy life style at the karate studio, mentally and physically is alive, well and working,” said Water.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 00:00
After missing the playoffs two straight years, the Sewanhaka Indians Boys lacrosse team will face tougher odds if it hopes to advance to postseason play in 2014.
The Indians, who start their season March 24 at Oyster Bay, will be playing out of Section 8, Nassau Conference II (Class B) this year; a bump up from their usual spot in Nassau Conference III (Class C). Typically, the schools are divided by enrollment.
“There are no gimmies in this league,” said nine-year coach Peter Burgess. “We were the last team to make this league in terms of population. They kind of drew the line below us. So we’re the smallest school in the league.”
Burgess said another obstacle for the Indians will be facing teams that they have no experience playing before.