Written by Chris Boyle Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00
At the April 24 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, the Nassau BOCES 2014-15 administrative budget, a spending plan, to which all 56 school districts in Nassau County contribute to, was unanimously approved by the Herricks Trustees.
The Board Of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) 2014-15 Administrative Budget comes in at $19.9 million, which represents only a 1.1 percent increase over the current fiscal years spending plan; board Vice-President Nancy Feinstein noted that this marginal increase was a significant feat.
“They’re really very careful about how they spend and how they craft their budgets,” she said. “I’m really not surprised that they were able to do this. It’s very impressive.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth also voiced his support of the budget. However, he pointed out that the evening’s vote only covers the administrative side of BOCES’ operating plan; the rest is determined by what BOCES services the individual school districts buy over the course of the year, he said.
“If we use no services at BOCES, we still have to pay our share of the administrative overhead,” he said. “If you use BOCES a lot, you still pay exactly the same overhead. We will use it for, in terms of programs and costs, things that are worth it.”
On that evening, all Nassau County school districts cast their votes on the BOCES administrative budget; in order for it to pass, it must acquire a majority of the votes. In this case, a majority would amount to 29 out of Nassau’s 56 districts; Feinstein noted that it is very rare for the BOCES budget to be voted down.
Nassau BOCES provides shared services to Nassau County’s 56 school districts, such as high school and adult career training, special education, alternative schooling, and many more programs of that nature.
Bierwirth also spoke on the recent school rankings released by U.S. News and World Report. He noted that Herricks was listed at 188 in the United States, and 33 in New York State.
“A fairly substantial portion of the schools above us were charters, magnets, or private schools,” he said. “Some of these schools are fairly selective, and you wouldn’t expect a public high school to have the same statistics that they do.”
Trustee Brian Hassan reiterated the recent news that inBloom, a company that was gathering student data in New York State for possible distribution to unknown third-party entities, is officially out of business; he said that this was in no small part due to the efforts of parents and educators throughout the state concerned about the potential abuse of their children’s privacy.
“It just goes to show you that if you scream loud enough, you can get the results that you’re looking for,” he said. “I think it’s a tribute to a lot of people, not only in this district but state-wide, that they voiced their objections and got what they wanted.”
Bierwirth noted that the decision to shut down inBloom was in part thanks to the efforts of the members of the New York State Legislature, who stepped in when the New York State Board of Regents appeared unwilling to make a decision, he said.
“The great thing was that the legislature took it out of the hands of the Regents,” he said. “the legislature basically said that if the Regents weren’t going to make a decision, that they’ll make it for them....and they did. It’s over, it’s done.”