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New Hyde Park/ Garden City Park Board Proposes a 2.97 Percent Budget Increase

The New Hyde Park/Garden City Park School Board has proposed a 2.97 percent increase in this year’s budget.

Prior to the presentation of the budget New Hyde Park/ Garden City Park Superintendent Robert Katulak issued the following statement:

“This was probably the most difficult budget we had to prepare in the history of the district.  I am happy to say that this has truly been a collaborative effort of the board listening to their constituents and directing the administrative team to develop a budget that is right for the children and fiscally responsible for the taxpayers.

“The budget miraculously delivers a 2.97 percent budget to budget increase, the lowest in the past seven years.  It also delivers a staffing budget that makes sure no employee loses a job.  

“Plus, we were able to maintain all programs except for outdoor education experience for the fifth and sixth grade and that will be supplemented by another similar program.”

Superintendent Katulak added, “Our goal in developing this budget was to maintain all academic programs and support systems.  Further, it was to keep the class sizes within 22 to 25 students in the primary grades and from 25 to 29 in grades four, five and six. We also wanted to maintain the concept of qualified professions.  We are required, by ‘No Child Left Behind” to provide a laser-like focus on staff development that is tied directly to district goals.

“As we have said, we are maintaining our current teaching staff because it will help to keep the local economy stable and if we had to we will deploy staff to positions needed rather than to terminate an employee that would result in the loss of a position.

“We also want to keep the facilities in order to maintain and prevent major high cost repairs by implementing the work on the building and grounds as part of the capital reserve project.

“We work as a team with administrators and the board of education and we looked at every single expenditure and every line in an effort to reduce costs without hurting the students.

“Most importantly, we kept the focus on the improvement of all students.  If it is good and necessary for students to meet their educational goals and is fiscally responsible, than we will deliver the service.

“We have maintained all four academic programs in the budget.  English/language arts, mathematics, social studies and science.  Not one is reduced and none of the materials used in these programs are reduced.  

“We have also maintained our arts program.  All visual arts will stay in place, chorus will stay in place as well as orchestra.  The band programs will stay as they are as well the string program.  The gifted Odyssey program will also be in place.”

Superintendent Katulak continued, “We will be able to maintain all computer and library services and all physical education classes.  Our science lab periods and the teachers for the lab will stay in place.  Our full-day kindergarten will remain the same.  Many districts across the county and the state have had to eliminate kindergarten altogether.  However, it is our firm belief that kindergarten is the foundation of all future learning.  

“Although it is not in our budget, we have applied for and have received aid for 55 students and lastly we will retain academic intervention services for reading, math and English as a Second Language.”

Katalak added, “What is new for this budget will be the ‘turn-key’ training for all teachers in the Charlotte Danielson framework of teachers and this will be given by me and all four principals.  This will enable the teachers to have a clear and concise understanding of all that is expected of them based on the “Race To The Top Initiative.

“There will also be continued ongoing training for instructional support for intervention mandates.  Continued Tier 3 intervention programs and training such as Read-180, Systems 44, Wilson Reading and we are working on what is called a “gap growth report” and will report on this at the next meeting.

“We have a number of students who were recommended to the scholastic company for advanced growth.  We have some students, since we implemented this program, that have grown four grade levels.  They were poor readers and they are now able to read easily and to understand what they are reading.”

Since the initial PowerPoint budget could not be put on the screen due to a glitch the entire budget may be obtained at the New Hyde Park/Garden City Park administrative offices located at the Manor Oaks School, 1950 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park.

At the end of the budget presentation several members of the community came to the microphone to thank Superintendent Katalak and Michael Frank for all their hard work and for making sure the district will not lose any of its services this year.

In other matters Attendance Supervisor Joseph Wendling reported that the district is very aware of any student who is at the New Hyde Park/Garden City Park school and who is not eligible to attend.  As soon as he is made aware of the situation he notifies the parents/and or guardian and the student is removed.

Superintendent Katulak also announced that the following will be honored at SCOPE Achievement Awards for Excellence at a dinner to be held on March 28 at Villa Lombardi:

School Board Service-Ernest Gentile

Teaching Excellence-Sheila Bet

Adminstration-James Svendsen

Support Services (posthumously)-Palma Persino

The next New Hyde Park/Garden City Park School Board meeting will be held on April 4 at 8 p.m. at the Manor Oaks School.