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Board Of Ed Tangles Over Testing, Class Size

Discussion over testing and class size opened a debate on spending at a New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education work session on Monday, March 31. 

 

The board voted unanimously to reduce the maximum class size for grades 3-6 to 27 from 29 students and to create an additional fifth-grade class next year.  These changes will be up for review next year.  

 

Reducing class size becomes a gamble if an unexpected amount of new students transfer to the district mid-year, according to district officials. If a class goes over the maximum, the district will have to hire additional aides.

 

The board determined that 27 was the smallest sustainable class size, given the current operating budget. Trustee Jennifer Kerrane felt that the district could tap money from reserves to further reduce class size, since many parents see it as a major issue.  

 

“If we’re not giving them what they’re asking for then we’re failing them,” Kerrane said.  

 

Vice President Patricia Rudd cautioned against such a move, emphasizing that reserve funds are meant for emergencies. 

 

“Class size is very important but we also have to be careful what programs we cut,” she said. “Once we cut a program it’s not coming back. If we keep borrowing from our fund balance we are going to end up like some districts in upstate New York that are failing right now.  We are just holding on.” For Kerrane, class size constitutes the type of rainy day problem the money was set aside for. 

 

Kerrane also clashed with other trustees on standardized testing. Eighteen students districtwide had opted out of the following day’s test at the time of the board meeting. Currently, students who opt out must remain in their classroom.

 

State rules say “those students cannot be given busywork to do during this time because that gives them an unfair advantage over their peers taking the test,” explained Superintendent Robert Katulak. They can “sit and stare” or read quietly.

 

The issue arose because one parent, who views non-test takers as a potential distraction, asked that one be removed from her child’s classroom.  

 

For Board President Ernest Gentile, the request wasn’t worth the resources that it would take to fulfill. 

 

“You’re going to utilize a teacher or proctor in the library for one child?” he said.  “Why should we give in for one person? This isn’t an issue districtwide.” 

 

Kerrane supported the parent’s request and asked that students who opt out be removed from the classrooms.

 

“We do a lot of things we don’t have to do,” said Kerrane. “I mean, if one kid is distracted from the test, shouldn’t that be enough? Why are you so adamant? What is our reasoning?” 

 

The board voted 4-1 to have students remain in their classroom, with trustee David Del Santo abstaining. 


News

When it comes to fitness, getting off the couch is half the battle.

 

Plenty of people start each day with the best of intentions, but plans to eat healthy and get to the gym often fall by the wayside with even the most shoddy of excuses. But a New

Hyde Park native is bringing physical fitness to the front door with a mobile, personal traning regimen focusing on individualized one-on-one fitness, group sessions and corporate fitness. 

The Herricks School District recently concluded a series of contract negotiations with the administrators and teachers of the district. Though talks were reportedly difficult, both sides were able to come to an agreement.

 

However, at the Nov. 20 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, Board President James Gounaris revealed that another bout of negotiations taking place with teaching assistants, which have taken an unfortunate turn for the worse.


Sports

The students of Herricks High School were treated to a “Blast from the Past” as the Herricks High School Class of 1964 during this year’s Homecoming celebration.  Approximately 60 members of the class of 1964 arrived at the high school on homecoming day for a tour of their alma mater.  Most of these alumni had not been back to the high school since graduating 50 years ago.

 

All were impressed with the changes that have taken place and with the friendly demeanor of our high school students. One alumnus became teary eyed when he ventured out into the courtyard.

Despite a disappointing playoff loss against the Wantagh Warriors, Sewanhaka Indians Head Coach George Kasimatis, is pleased with his football team’s season. 

“I’m proud of my team,” he said. “But you are never satisfied unless you win the whole thing.”

 

The Indians faced a big challenge this year, moving up into Conference II left them as the new kids on the block, unfamiliar with the teams they would be going against. 

Kasimatis will have a tall task next year replacing graduating seniors, which made up most of his starting lineup. Kasimatis said most of the offensive line, such as Danny Gianotti, Adrian Gonzalez and Louis Segarra III, and the defensive line, such as Justin Alexandre, Peter LaTorre and Peter Militano are seniors, many of which have started multiple years for him. 


Calendar

Songfest - November 26

International Night - November 27

Blood Drive - November 29


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