Written by Daniel Offner Friday, 30 May 2014 00:00
Voters in the Island Trees School District cast their ballots on May 20, approving a $60.2 million spending plan for the 2014-2015 school year by a 78 percent margin.
According to unofficial tallies, 957 residents voted “yes” while 267 voted against the 2014-2015 budget.
“I would like to thank the community for again supporting the Island Trees school budget,” said Island Trees schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy. “Year in and year out, the Island Trees residents continue to support their investment in our school programs, services and students... for that, I truly thank the residents.”
This year, voters passed a proposed $60.2 million spending plan that comes with no reductions in staff, and maintains existing programs at the schools.
Spending in the adopted budget represents a 1.89 percent increase—or $1,116,861—over the 2013-2014 budget.
The school district’s approved spending plan for 2014-2015 also comes with a zero percent levy increase. Although spending increased, Murphy said that without counting the money proposed for capital projects, the budget would have only increased .62 percent from last year.
According to school officials, this zero percent levy increase was achieved through contract settlements with the four collective bargaining units and an increase in state aid, which will cover $452,927 of the total $754,879 budgeted for new capital projects.
The levy falls approximately $957,334 under the state imposed two percent tax cap.
However, because the levy and the tax rate increases differ slightly from home to home, not everyone is in the clear.
According to Assistant Superintendent for Business Susan Hlvanka, property taxes are estimated to increase by $8.03 per $1000 of assessed property value next year.
For Island Trees residents that have not petitioned their taxes this year, this means they can expect to pay about the same amount as they did in 2013-2014. Others may still see a slight increase in their school tax bill, while others may even see a decrease.
Saturday, 26 July 2014 00:00
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.
Friday, 25 July 2014 00:00
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.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
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.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
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.