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Tricia Rudd Lauds State Exemption of MTA Tax

School Districts to Be Reimbursed

At the last New Hyde Park/Garden City school board meeting, board trustee Tricia Rudd announced that from this day forward the state has exempted all school boards from the MTA tax they had previously imposed.

Rudd went on to say, “School districts will be reimbursed for payments made to date and then be free of the need to pay at all. BOCES and special districts will no longer have to pay the tax and to pay this we had to borrow money. This is effective immediately. This is a big win for all school districts   This law should never have been put into effect, but at least they corrected the mistake. We got a few people out of office, especially the one person who pushed for this law.

“Hopefully, New York Senator Martins will keep pushing forward for us and helping us with mandates. How much did this law cost us?”

School Board President Ernie Gentile said, “Collectively (including Sewanhaka Central) it cost us over $55,000 and for Sewanhaka it was $33,000. And I can’t even imagine what the BOCES cost was and it was all passed on to the school districts. So, this is a win, win for us. Hopefully, this will be just the beginning of getting rid of all the other mandates.”

Special Education Five-Year Plan

Director of Special Education, Dr. Raymond Brodeur, then gave a Five-Year Plan Update on Special Education in the New Hyde Park/Garden City Park Schools.

Dr. Brodeur said, “I’d like to update as far as where we are in the Special Education Department. In terms of where we are, we are continuing the full continuum of special education services, in the district and out of district,  in terms of special education classes. Those in district which includes the primary intensive needs class, the secondary intensive needs class, resource room, integrated co-teaching services, related services including speech and language, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, applied behavior analysis through the committee on special education.

“The committee on pre-school special education, we are responsible for ages 3 to the end of grade six, the committee on pre-school provides through Nassau County and the school district all of the above named services as well as special education, itinerant teachers and all these services are contracted through outside agencies through Nassau County.

“As of July 1, we have implicated the required new individual education plan using research and best practices to do so.

“In terms of the guidance, that I have worked with my staff in developing, the research, and experience has shown that to improve the results of students with disabilities, students and the school must have high expectations for the students with disabilities, meet the students needs, enable the students to access and participate and show progress in general education curriculum to the maximum extent possible.

“We provide effective systems of school-wide classrooms and we ensure that all those who work with students with disabilities have the skills and knowledge necessary to help those students to meet academic and functional goals. In other words, all of our teachers of related services are highly qualified. We prepare students for their transition to adult learning and living. Even though this is an elementary district we are looking to the future, we are looking to helping them to go into the work force to get the high school diploma and to move on to college.

“We use high-quality based instruction and support and focus our resources on teaching and learning.

“Dr. Brodeur continued, “The IDP is the cornerstone of the Special Education process. We have been increasing parental involvement. One of the things that I spoke about when I was interviewed by the board and by the committee is in terms of SEPTA. We have had two SEPTA meetings for all parents. We did learn that we lost our charter approximately five years ago, so as a result of that we really have to work with inter-school PTA to re-establish the charter. In other words, each of the units has been asked to create a third vice-president in terms of special education. They are the go-to people in terms of the four units in each of the four schools. What we are doing now is to demonstrate to Nassau PTA and also subsequently to New York State PTA that we will continue to maintain correct involvement.”

Brodeur went on, “The Inter-School PTA meeting we participated in recently, superintendent Katulak and I greeted 57 people in the first meeting and a fairly large number that came to the second meeting. We do have two individuals who are serving as co-chairpersons of the steering committee along with me in terms of guidance in what is going on.

“With the director of technology, as superintendent Katulak reported, we have Smart Boards in all of our Special Education classes. We have Smart-Tables utilizing software in terms of all of the core curriculum areas. We have clickers that I use to help differentiate instruction. We have a system technology used consistently with the IDP.

“We have an ongoing articulation with the Sewanhaka Central High School District. One of the first things I did was to contact Dr. Tripone, my colleague at the high school district, to look to the articulation of what happens when the students move from our sixth grade into the high school. We already have had three meetings and the process is well underway. We will begin our review of students moving onto the high school, and will begin the end of February.

“The response to intervention, that is mandated by state education, I am pleased to say, the district is one of the leaders. We are doing it for K-6, even though we are only required to do it for K-4, in terms of identifying students as being learning disabled and in both math and reading.”  

Dr. Brodeur said, “We are preparing to welcome identified committee for special education students into the district as Kindergarten and that is done through program development. I am out visiting the pre-schools as is my staff. So it is an articulated planned program so that we have as few surprises as possible.

“So on behalf of the PPS staff I would like to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.”

Since there were no questions from either superintendent Katulak or the board except for words of praise, Dr. Brodeur thanked the board.

The meeting proceeded with the acceptance of various personnel appointments and at the end, since there were no further comments the board meeting ended.

The next meeting will be held at 8 p.m. at the Garden City Park School, 51 Central Avenue, Garden City Park.