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Sewanhaka Budget Set For Vote

The Sewanhaka Central High School District School Board adopted the 2014-15 proposed budget last week. The proposed budget total for the 2014-15 school year is $175.3 million, a budget increase of $3.52 million from last year. The tax levy increase is set at 2.1 percent. The budget vote will take place on May 20.

 

The current projection for state aid in 2014-15 is $29.2 million in the state legislative budget, a slight increase from last year ($27.8 million).

 

“There was a budget-to-budget state aid increase of 5.2 percent,” District Superintendent Dr. Ralph Ferrie said.

 

In order to remain within the tax levy limit, the school district had to make cuts. A $2.9 million reduction which meant cuts to school staff, including 13 teachers, one assistant principal and 12 teaching assistants.

 

The reduction of teachers due to retirement, attrition and other factors totaled $1.17 million. The assistant principal, salary, benefits, teacher retirements and FICA totaled $215,376. Cutting teaching assistants totaled $611,095 and a reduction in two clerical positions

added up to $59,314.

 

“It is disheartening to think that in the next couple of weeks I’ll be sitting with some of our teachers and telling them they will not be coming back,” said Dr. Ferrie.

 

Other items that will be cut or trimmed include overnight, weekend and holiday security workers, transitional content classes at H. Frank Carey High School, the graphic design program including teaches and software expenditures.

 

“We predicted this three years ago that in a tax cap environment there would come a time where things would get worse,” said Ferrie. “If it continues this way next year we’ll not only have to cut staff but student programs as well, something we’ve avoided doing the last three years.”

 

On a positive note, some program enhancements include creating a new twilight GED Program overseen by Nassau BOCES, reintroducing a limited program for adult education during spring 2015 at no cost to the district and initiating a pilot co-teaching program in seventh grade at Floral Park Memorial and Carey high schools. This will also be at no additional cost to the district, says Ferrie. 

 

Lawrence Livi, graphic design art teacher at Sewanhaka High School, said the reduction and eventual phasing out of the graphic design program is “very unfortunate for the students at Sewanhaka.”

 

He explained that the program teaches students to create and design in a special way and that it uses live work to sharpen student’s skills for the real world.

 

“Graphic design has a 60-year history at Sewanhaka and it would be a shame if it is no longer a resource for Sewanhaka students,” said Livi.

 

The next school board meeting will be on Tuesday, April 22 at Sewanhaka High School.

News

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District is planning improvements to a district that has already seen much success in recent years. The school year has only just begun and the Board of Ed is already setting its sights on the future. 

 

At the Sept. 8 board of education meeting, Superintendent Robert Katulak’s monthly report outlined the major goals set for the district last month. While approved in August, the three goals were made available to the public this month and each target different areas for improvement throughout the district. 

 

The first goal deals with English Language Learners (ELL) within the student population. ELL students are those that speak a language other than English at home and score below proficient on assessments. 

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.


Sports

Sewanhaka boys soccer coach Peter Burgess wasn’t sure how long his team’s playoff drought was when it was broken last season. 

 

“Somebody said it was 13 years,” said Burgess, whose entering his fourth year coaching varsity. “But I think it was five or six, I don’t know maybe longer.”

 

But one thing’s for certain, he wants to keep last year’s momentum going. 

 

The Indians, who started their season with a 3-0 loss at Hewlett, will aim for their second straight trip to the playoffs this year. 

The Sewanhaka Indians made their Nassau Conference II debut with a bang.  The Indians opened their season at home against the Calhoun Colts, unsure what to expect, as all they had ever seen of the Colts was one tape of a scrimmage. 

 

“It was nerve raking leading up to the game,” said Head Coach George Kasimatis. “We weren’t sure what to expect on offense or defense, you have to guess early on. “

 

But it didn’t take the Indians long to introduce themselves to the conference, as junior, Quarterback, Elijah Tracey broke a 75-yard run taking it the distance to put the Indians up early, which ended in a 27-7 rout of the Colts. 


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

Herricks Meeting - September 18

Bike Safety Day - September 21


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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