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Herricks Budget Vote Next Week

The Herricks Board of Education made its last presentation of its spending plan for the upcoming 2014-15 school year at the May 8 public meeting; it’s all in the hands of the voters on Tuesday, May 20.

 

Assistant Superintendent for Business Helen Costigan led the discussion and stressed the “efficiency and effectiveness” of the spending plan to parents attending the meeting.

 

“The budget comes in at a total of $107,594,911, which is a budget-to-budget increase of 2.84 percent,” she said. “The tax levy is 1.73 percent. We are under the tax cap, which this year is 1.4648 percent, but because of some adjustments, our levy is 1.73 percent, which is under the cap.”

 

Costigan said the budget maintains programs for the students. This was done despite the fact that Herricks does not possess some of the financial advantages that some other school districts may have.

 

“[A majority] of our homeowners in Herricks pay that portion of the tax levy,” she said. “Some school districts that have commercial property may have closer to 60 percent of their homeowners paying, but because Herricks does not have much commercial property, 93 percent is the burden of the taxpayers.”

 

Imbalances in taxes paid among homeowners were also addressed; Costigan said that this was, more often than not, the result of ongoing issues that Nassau County has been having with their property value assessment process.

 

“Of the people who file to challenge the assessments, 87 percent are receiving reductions...so, obviously, there’s a problem with their assessment system. Something is wrong,” she said. “So, if you haven’t challenged your assessment, and others have, they get reductions and then you will pay more to make up the difference.”

 

Costigan spoke about a “considerable amount of savings” the school district managed to achieve by restructuring an expiring bond the board opened to finance capital improvement projects throughout the district, such as building renovations and new boilers. This saving, she said, would free up funds for other beneficial purposes as well.

 

“We were able to re-finance the bond with a considerable amount of savings,” she said. “We were able to re-finance at a very positive rate...we refinanced $10 million at 1.5 percent over seven years. That’s phenomenal, and we’ll save a million dollars, which averages out to about $140,000 per year. We got that rate and we’ll be closing on May 13, and we’re very pleased about that.”

 

Board of Education President James Gounaris said that when it comes to the projected savings afforded by the bond re-financing, the district would measure whatever expenditure opportunities that extra monies would open up versus any recent cuts they were forced to make due to financial constraints, and always do what’s in the best interests of the students.

 

“I’m not sure if bringing back one laid-off teacher is enough...I’m thinking I’d rather see a reversal of the cuts that the students had to take for the last couple of years,” he said. “Perhaps bringing back some of the clubs that the kids lost that they wanted, or intramural sports...a good mix, a balanced mix, of sports and clubs, encompassing grades K through 12.”

 

In addition to the 2014-15 school budget, another matter being decided by voters on May 20 is the re-election hopes of Board of Education members Gounaris and Trustee Christine Turner.

 

The next board meeting is on Thursday, May 29 at the Center Street School.


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


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