Written by Chris Boyle Friday, 16 May 2014 00:00
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.
Last Updated (Wednesday, 27 August 2014 09:06) Friday, 29 August 2014 00:00
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.”
Last Updated (Wednesday, 27 August 2014 11:11) Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
The Village of New Hyde Park will soon hear Manhattan businessman Sam Chan’s proposal to open a 84-seat hibachi-style restaurant at 1215 Jericho Tpke. in New Hyde Park, the former spot of the maligned Empire Billiards Hall. The hearing is set for Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m.
“The board will be hearing the case for restaurant usage,” Mayor Robert Lofaro said. “This will also have to go before the zoning board. They will likely hear the case.”
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
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.
Thursday, 28 August 2014 00:00
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.”