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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

James Sokol and Jake Leeds from Boy Scout Troop 298 recently completed their service projects.

 

Sokol and fellow Scouts replaced the backboards, rims and nets in the basketball court in Nuzzi Park. They also trimmed trees and repainted the court lines. 

The debate over New York State Common Core standards continues, with students from local school districts showing a mild resistance to the exams.

 

According to the New York State Allies for Public Education, 39 students in the Herricks School District opted out of the English exam, while 74 did not take the math test. For the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District, 17 students did not take the English test while 18 refused to take the math test.


Sports

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. 

Sewanhaka Indians Head football coach George Kasimatis told his team to expect a dogfight in this weeks game against the New Hyde Park Gladiators, and he was right after its 35-21 victory last week. 

 

“All the kids know each other really well, it’s always competitive when we play each other,” he said. 


Calendar

PTA Meeting - October 22

International Night - October 23

Halloween Dance - October 24


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