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From The Desk Of Superintendent Robert Katulak

It’s A Process

How does, what looks like such an easy task, turn into choreographing the most intricate dance in history? Welcome to the New York State education district budget development process. Just when we have it down to a science, we get thrown additional curve balls or our lead dancer breaks a toe. 

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District has worked closely with the community over the past five years to have a budget process that takes community input regarding the quality of educational program offerings and balances the dance moves with fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers.

We have sharpened each dance step by making sure we look for budget efficiencies whenever possible. We have consolidated transportation runs, shared staff development costs with other districts, and applied for grants, which have been awarded whenever we have met the eligibility requirements. We have refinanced our debt to take advantage of the interest’s rates, and have saved over $1.5 million over the life of the debt service. We have created this wonderful dance piece and still have preserved all our programs and staff.

Now, the state throws another unfunded mandate at us. We have been notified that we must build our technology hardware so that we will be able to have an entire grade level, anywhere from 50 to 80 students, sit at the same time to take the new, New York State Assessments, which will be rolled out in the 2014 –15 school year. This gives us two years to get this in place while fiscally fighting for survival of a well-rounded educational program. This needs to stop! We have complied with the 2 percent tax levy. We have trimmed any extras, little to start with, and have created sound budgets that preserve programs, staff and do not hurt our taxpaying constituents. However, now there is no place left to go. We are supporters of the Common Core Learning Standards and the assessments designed to measure students’ mastery of them.

Therefore, someone needs to keep in mind the principle dancers of this piece, our students. By insisting we spend this money on the computer hardware to take this test (a snapshot in time); we will be sacrificing programs and staff to pay for the extra computers. How about the scheduling of these exams? Why not offer each district a week for each grade to administer the tests, so they can utilize the well equipped computer labs, over the course of the week to give the test to the entire grade. We need to put an end to this.

Please send an e-mail or letter to your representatives to get us the financial support for these “extra mandates;” so that we can use our remaining resources to continue our well-deserved existing programs!


News

While this year’s New Hyde Park Street Fair takes place one day before the first official day of fall, the event keeps the spirit of summer alive a little longer for the 20,000-25,000 attendees. 

 

Organizers are looking to up the ante for the 19th annual event on Saturday, Sept. 20, with the usual clowns and crafts supplemented by a petting zoo, pony rides and a new children’s carnival, from New Hyde Park-based Send in the Clowns.

 

“We try to capatilize on all the elements of the fair that work and modify ones that need work,” said New Hyde Park Village Board Research Assistant/Fair

Coordinator Janet Bevers. “The fair has been in place for 19 years now so in essence we follow a similar format. We invite all the village merchants to participate.”

 

The pony rides will be stationed near the Green Meadow Farms petting zoo on Lakeville Road, with the carnival setting up shop in the village’s Central Boulevard parking lot.

 

“It’s exciting to see a local company taking on a big piece of the fair,” Bevers said.

 

Fair reps expect at least 220 vendors to line the street fair this year. In the fair’s inaugural outing in 1995, just 90 craft vendors showed up.

 

“I think it’s one of the biggest events in Nassau County,” Queens-based Craft-A-Fair President Tony Ciuffo said. “The fair accentuates the local merchants.

Every year it gets more and more exciting. I expect new vendors this year. Around 25 percent of the vendors will be new this year.”

 

Each year, vendors rent space on the turnpike from New Hyde Park Road, continuing west to Covert Avenue. Last year, a few extra blocks were added near Lakeville Road.

 

Former trustee Florence Lisanti was one of the first organizers of the street fair, who trustee Donald Barbieri commended for leading the charge.

 

“[The fair] is a great day for the community,” he stated. “We’re proud to have all our local organizations along the turnpike. The merchants get to showcase what they do. We are very proud of the street fair.”

 

Local merchants, Greater New Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce members, charity and service groups can set up tables on the sidewalk free of charge, Bevers said.

 

“We view the fair as the premiere street fair on Long Island,” Bevers stated. “It goes about a square mile. The community feel to the fair is crucial. It’s a big fair and still retains its local charact

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.


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