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Vets Tax Exemption On Hold

The Herricks School District Board of Education has temporarily tabled its participation in a recent bill signed by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo that would provide school tax exemptions for veterans of the United States military living in the district.

 

Board President James Gounaris, at a meeting on March 6, said that while the door would remain open for future participation in the program, several potential issues with the bill that made him and his trustees reluctant to opt in at this time

 

“There is the issue that we continue to have with the Nassau County Assessor’s Office, and their inability to give us good data on who is legitimate and who is qualified for the program and who is not,” he said. “The board is in favor of offering the exemption, but the problem is, how do we qualify the exemption for all these people without affecting others who may or may not qualify? Veterans who may be mistakenly excluded may pay a higher rate when they may have been qualified to participate.”

 

Another issue Gounaris mentioned was the inability of a school district to cease their involvement with the program if it turned out to harm the district. 

 

“If we opt in, and there’s an issue, we can’t opt out,” he said. “Hopefully, at a later date, the state will choose to remove that addendum and allow schools to opt out.”

 

The veteran school tax exemptions, in their current form, are broken down into three tiers, each offering different levels of benefits: non-combat veteran, a combat veteran, and disabled veteran. In addition, exemptions would be available for residents whose children were killed while in military service (known as Gold Star Parents) as well.

 

If the tax exemption is to be applied to the 2014-15 school year, it must be adopted by March 15. However, Gounaris noted that there’s the future possibility of opting in for the current fiscal year if the state extends the deadline for adoption.

 

“We believe that offering the exemption is the honorable and right thing to do,” he said. “Unfortunately, the people who are providing us the data can’t qualify for us who is supposed to get the exemption, and at what rate. However, we don’t want to outright vote no, so instead we are going to table it.”

Certs Savings

 

Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth had noted Herricks had previously put $350,000 in reserve in case school districts had lost a tax certiorari lawsuit against the county and would be forced to pay out property tax assessment refunds to Nassau County residents. The board came up with a constructive way to spend those funds to the betterment of the district’s schools.

 

Dividing the $350,000 amongst the current 2013-14 and upcoming 2014-15 budgets, the newly-freed up tax certiorari funds will be used to provide new blacktop at the Denton Avenue and Center Street schools, a new playground at Searingtown School and various technology-related expenses, leaving a remaining balance of $61,000 to be carried over to the district’s upcoming budget.

News

Running for his second major office in as many years, Adam Haber touched on familiar themes in a visit to Anton Media Group to discuss his candidacy for the Seventh District New York State Senate seat, where Haber is challenging the Republican incumbent, Jack Martins.

 

Haber entered politics in 2009, when he ran for and won, a seat on the Roslyn School Board. The district was then reeling from an embezzlement scandal that had cost it millions of dollars. Haber touted his achievements on the board, including bringing finances into line to the point where the district has seen the lowest tax increases of any district in Nassau County. Last year, Haber ran for the Democratic Party’s nomination to challenge Edward P. Mangano for the Nassau County executive’s race. 

After a recent security scare, the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District is leading a push to get public election polling moved out of school buildings. The board of education is aiming to pass its resolution at the state level to encompass all New York Schools and address what they see as a broad school security flaw. 

 

“What’s good for our kids should be good for any child in any other public school in the entire state,” Superintendent Robert Katulak said. 


Sports

 

The Sewanhaka Indians topped the Herricks Highlanders, 26-6, on Saturday, Oct. 25. The Indians (5-2) Garden City High School to close out the regular season on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. at 170 Rockaway Ave., Garden City.

 

(Photos by Stephen Takacs)


The Sewanhaka Indians varsity football team hosted Elmont Spartans on Saturday, Oct. 18 in its final home game of the regular season. 

 

It certainly did not go as the Indians had hoped, falling 18-8, in a mistake filled game. Head coach George Kasimatis said the Indians had their chances, but kept digging themselves into a hole with mental mistakes on both sides of the ball. 

 

Playing from behind, senior running back Brenton Mighty was able to break free for a long touchdown run, to put the Indians on the board. 


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