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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

Drivers—get ready to slow down. Nassau County is currently in the process of installing school zone speed cameras in an effort to enhance safety by encouraging drivers to travel with caution, as well as support law enforcement efforts to crack down on violators and prevent accidents caused by speeding.

Nassau County officials say Sewanhaka High School will receive a camera on Covert Avenue, which spans the eastern stretch of the property. Tulip Avenue runs in front of the high school and was also considered. Cameras could begin operation in September.

The Village of New Hyde Park finished its Operation Main Street project just in time, because the town’s eligibility for federal funds is shrinking, officials announced last week.

“The qualifications revolve around money,” trustee Donald Barbieri said. “Like how much income is being earned by people in the area. I guess as seniors move on, you can’t buy an [expensive home] and it changed the demographic, shrinking our eligible area.”


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



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