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Island Trees Starts Budget Meetings

Island Trees School District started the budget process on Wednesday, February 27 at the first of a series of budget meetings. Each school principal had the opportunity to present their budgets, all down from previous years, while the board had a chance to ask questions and make cuts. 

However, a new tech program started at the high school level last year, as well as some questionable budget allotments, put Nick Grande, high school principal, in the hot seat. 

Last year, the high school began offering a new tech course, and Grande explained that it did not take the place of another course; the school just had less children in other sections. Patricia Mahon, school board president, said that she – and the rest of the board – were not made aware of the new program and was not happy about it. 

“We are doing budget cuts,” she said. “If we are creating a new subject area, I know I would like to know about it, as would the rest of the board.”

In addition, agenda pads for high school freshman got cut as well as money for departmental meetings. “If they want to supply cookies and snacks for their departmental meetings, tell them to reach into their pockets,” Mahon said. 

The budgets for the other schools went a little more smoothly with very little suggestions of cuts. “If we are operating within a 2 percent tax cap as a board, we are hoping that everyone is keeping their costs flat or a little below last year,” said Mahon. 

However, Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy explained that the pension situation is a balloon and he is hopeful that the Governor will find a way to handle it. “With 2016 coming up fast, I am sure that by the end, they will find some relief with the pension situation,” he said, inferring that the Governor will want to run for President of the United States and will want to be able to have something to show the rest of the country. 

The district also discussed how planning for last year ended up saving the district additional headaches and costs in the end, with BOCES having to return money to the district as well as the County Guaranty not going through. “Because we budgeted for the County Guaranty, we now have a little cushion,” Murphy said. 

Before the meeting adjourned, however, a concerned parent brought a circulating rumor to the board about a school building being sold. “We’re selling a building, that’s the rumor that is going around. Is that true? Are we really selling a building?,” she asked. 

“Anything is a possibility,” replied Murphy, who explained that BOCES will be returning a building to them at the end of this year and that the district will need to look for other sources of income for that building. 

“But, what if it is partitioned and rented for different things. I know in business that you never want to lose property, so doesn’t it make sense to keep the building?,” she replied. 

Murphy cited that enrollment has been steadily decreasing during the past 17 years and there is really no reason to keep a building that will most likely continue to remain vacant. “Like I said,” he explained, “Anything is a possibility.” 


News

A clown named Renaldo performed magic tricks for an enthusiastic audience as part of the National Circus Project, which visited Levittown Public Library on Wednesday, July 16.

 

All 150 tickets available for the performance were sold out in this interactive magic show for children. Throughout the entire circus act, children laughed and raised their hands as high as they could to be chosen as one of Renaldo’s helpers.

 

Raising her hand to participate was three-year-old Kirsten Cantwell from Seaford. “She was upset that she didn’t get picked,” said her mother Melissa Cantwell.

 

Kirsten Cantwell goes to any activity offered at the library, and is starting to enjoy watching magic shows. According to her mother, she really enjoyed the performance.

 

In the circus show, National Circus Project performer, Al Calienes, acted as Renaldo the clown.

 

“The show has different components of acts in the circus,” explained Calienes. “We teach children circus moves.”

 

With the National Circus Project, children get to see magic tricks performed live. “We infuse enthusiasm by showing them, and they in turn will be able to repeat the process,” said Calienes.

Renaldo performed plate spinning, where he spun a plate on a stick and passed it along to the stick of one of his helpers from the audience, who then passed the plate down a line of three more helpers. This interactive way of teaching the children magic tricks really allows them to absorb what they are learning.

 

The National Circus Project travels and performs for elementary schools, as well as middle and high schools. When the National Circus Project is not going to schools, they perform at library shows, summer camps, and other types of events.

 

The performance entertains the adults as well as the children. “We involve everybody,” said Calienes. “Everybody’s engaged on some level or another. “

 

At every library performance, Calienes donates the children’s book he wrote and illustrated Renaldo Joins the Circus to the library. He feels that he owes a lot to the library system. “Anything that ever meant anything to me I learned in the library,” said Calienes.

 

Calienes learned how to draw from the library, which is how he became a commercial artist. One of the main characters he would always draw would be Renaldo the clown. “I wanted to make him real so I joined the circus,” he said.

 

Calienes has been performing with the National Circus Project for seven years and has been in the circus business going on 26 years.

 

The National Circus Project brings magic to children at any school, camp or library all over Long Island as well as across the country.

 

Last June, Nassau County passed legislation that allows for the deployment of a speed enforcement camera system in school zones for each of the 56 public school districts in the county. 

 

The new systems will be implemented throughout the county on July 25, and will be operational on scheduled school days throughout the year. 


Sports

Levittown’s Division Avenue High School varsity baseball team, under the direction of coach Tom Tuttle, won the Class A County Championship, garnering a third-place ranking in New York State. This is the team’s 13th county championship win and the second county championship for the school in the past four years.

 

In addition, senior Chris Reilly was named Championship MVP for throwing a complete game shutout in game two and going three for four with two RBIs. 

Taylor Traenkle, a junior at Division Avenue High School recently received the MVP award for the Nassau County Varsity Hockey League Association.

 

Traenkle, who plays no. 9 for the Levittown Ice Falcons, led the way averaging 2.8 points a game with a total of 25 goals and 23 assists in just 17 games. 


Calendar

Lazy Days Of Summer - July 26

Flea Market - July 27

Darlene Prince and the Bragg Hollow Band - July 28


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