Written by Margaret Whitely Friday, 02 April 2010 00:00
The proposed budget for the New Hyde Park/Garden City Park School District of $32,560,270 is set to be adopted on April 12 by the school board. As the budget stands right now, the budget-to-budget increase will be 3.13 percent. This is the smallest percentage increase in over nine years.
According to New Hyde Park/Garden City Park School Board Assistant Superintendent for Business Michael Frank, “Included in the budget are new costs that are proposed by the governor to be shifted to school districts that have historically been paid by the state. An example would be the cost for summer special education programs.
“In the past, the state paid for 80 percent of the costs of each district’s program. The governor has proposed that this be changed to a wealth-based formula, and accordingly for the New Hyde Park/ Garden City Park UFSD, approximately 74 percent of the cost will be the responsibility of the district. This translates into an additional $100,000 (approx) that is budgeted for the 2010-2011 school year.
“The state has also announced a proposed rate increase for the Teacher’s Retirement System of 40 percent, and a rate increase for the Employee’s Retirement System of over 60 percent. Also, NYS HIP has announced that they have utilized the last of their reserves this year to avert significant rate increases in medical insurance. Accordingly, the district is preparing for significant increases for the 2010-2011 school year. These are all examples of forced increases on the district’s budget.
“Additionally, the governor has proposed significant cuts in state aid. For most districts the two largest sources of revenue are state aid and tax levy. Since the governor is proposing a cut in state aid, he is essentially shifting the burden from the state to the taxpayer. The New Hyde Park /Garden City Park UFSD is slated to receive a cut in state aid of over $330,000.
“Therefore, the district has taken several measures to offset the additional expenditures forced upon it by the State, and to offset the reduction in state aid. The district has reduced spending in areas such as equipment, supplies, textbooks, and contractual codes for the 2010-2011 budget. Also, the district has strategically utilized reserves to help lessen the impact that the additional costs and the reduction in aid are having on the tax levy.
“These measures have helped the district put forth a 3.13% budget-to-budget increase with an increase in the levy of 4.91%. It should be noted that this is the worst case scenario that is based on the Governor’s proposed budget. If the Legislature is able to restore any additional state aid, then the District plans on using those additional funds to reduce the amount needed from tax levy.
Frank continued, “If the budget does not pass and the district adopts a contingency budget, there will be significant cuts made. The proposed budget would have to be reduced by approximately $947,000, which would certainly impact programs. This will be one of the topics discussed at the April 12 board of education meeting.”
At the last meeting New Hyde Park Superintendent Robert Katulak assured those in the audience that the music and arts programs will remain in the budget. He also advised that the clinics will be offered to only those students that require the extra help.
Further, he addressed the question of class size. He said that 22 to 25 students per class will be in grades K to third grade and 25 to 29 students per class in grades fourth to sixth.
The board also approved the policies listed for a second reading including: Children with Disabilities, Least Restrictive Environment, Students with Disabilities Participating in School District Programs, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Appointments and training of Committee on Special Education Subcommittee on Special Education Members, Student Individalized Education program Developments and Provisions, Identification and Register of Children with Disabilities, Impartial Due Process Hearing, Independent Educational Evaluation, Special Education Mediation, Selection of Library and Mutli-Media Materials, Textbooks/Workbooks, Home Tutoring (Homebound Instruction).
As required by the State Education Law, all school boards must meet to vote on the BOCES Administrative Budget and the candidates for the BOCES board. The New Hyde Park/Garden City Park School board will meet on April 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room of the administrative offices for the purpose of voting.
The board also approved the sixth grade trip to Medieval Times and the board also accepted a donation from Cub Scout Pack No. 489 for participation in the Community Service Arbor Day Tree Planting Project by planting tow trees at the Hillside Grade School.
The meeting adjourned and the next New Hyde Park/Garden City Park School Board meeting will be on April 12 at 8 p.m. at the Manor Oaks School, 1950 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park.