Anton Community Newspapers  •  132 East 2nd Street  •  Mineola, NY 11501  •  Phone: 516-747-8282  •  FAX: 516-742-5867
Attention: open in a new window. PDFPrintE-mail

School Districts: Good News On State Aid

Superintendents weigh in on Governor’s budget

The Levittown and Island Trees schools will be getting more in state aid this year as a result of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed aid package. Under Cuomo’s plan, the Levittown School District would see it’s 2012-13 state aid rise from $43,742,058, to a proposed $44,975,145, a 0.65 percent increase or $1,233,087.

Levittown Superintendent of Schools, Dr. James Grossane explained that Gov. Cuomo’s proposed executive budget is a “preliminary budget” and that the district is currently examining the projection.

“We are still examining the budget numbers, but do believe we are on the right track,” Dr. Grossane stated. “How this proposed budget will affect the Levittown School District is still being analyzed.”

Similarly, under the proposed budget, the Island Trees School District would see its 2012-13 state aid rise from $12,199,190, to a proposed $12,605,768, a 0.70 percent increase or $406,578.

“Admittedly, I have grave concerns that the school district aid would be flat this year; I had heard from some state official that the tax receipts were lower than anticipated and the costs from Superstorm Sandy would negatively impact the state budget,” said Dr. Charles Murphy, superintendent of the Island Trees School District. 

He said despite the 3 percent increase, it was more than the district had anticipated. Murphy told the Levittown Tribune that the school district’s mandated contribution to the pension system was far greater than the increase to state aid. “In fact, last year the district’s obligation was 11.84 percent of total salaries and it has not increased to over 16 percent of total salaries; this is the most significant issue that we’ll need to deal with during our budgetary process.”

Local officials weighed in on the varying degrees of aid losses and gains throughout Long Island. Assemblyman David McDonough believes children continue to be imperiled by an unfair system of state education aid that saps resources out of the classroom and raises taxes on hard-working New Yorkers. 

“The governor’s executive budget includes increased state aid, and it is my sincere hope that in the coming weeks and months we can work together to deliver Long Island’s fair share to local classrooms and communities,” McDonough said.

Senator Kemp Hannon explained how some of the surrounding school districts such as East Meadow, Farmingdale, Plainview, and Massapequa would not benefit from the proposed budget. “When the governor announces a 4 percent hike in school aid, most people feel that will be distributed equitably; in contrast to that, we have some people with absolute losses or who are staying the same.”

Hannon gave the example of Massapequa, whose district went from getting $2 million in high tax aid to getting $610,000 in high tax aid, a $1.4 million loss.

“You’d expect if you talk about a 4 percent increase in school aid, that everybody would be getting a 4 percent increase in school aid and it didn’t work out that way; we have worked to add a thing called high tax aid increase a few years ago,” said Hannon. “They took the money in high tax aid, took a lot of it out, redistributed it, and it’s the redistribution that causes the problem because once some district reads that they’re getting so much money, you can’t take it away, even though in some essence it was other people’s money.” 

The governor’s budget must be ratified by April 1.

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