Thursday, 03 October 2013 00:00
Smaller, financially strapped school districts that can offer greater educational opportunities by joining together are the best candidates for mergers, according to a new research report by the New York State School Boards Association (NYSSBA).
The report found that losses in state aid and the local property tax cap have forced some districts to eliminate teaching and support staff positions, affecting their ability to provide elective courses and, in some cases, core courses as well.
By merging, these districts might be better able to offer a wider variety of educational programs and courses than they would otherwise.
“While we often hear policymakers talk about cost savings as the main impetus for school district mergers, school board members must first and foremost consider the academic implications of a proposed merger,” said NYSSBA Executive Director Timothy G. Kremer.
NYSSBA’s new report, “To Merge or Not to Merge,” explores the pros and cons of school district mergers and identifies key factors in determining whether a community will support a merger.
Aside from increased educational opportunities for students, school districts might consider a merger to realize cost savings due to economies of scale, provide greater access to extracurricular activities, or receive additional state aid.
Yet mergers also present drawbacks, such as loss of community identity and longer bus rides.
The report also found that creating a successful school merger depends on several important factors, including:
• Whether districts will benefit more or less equally from the merger, both financially and academically
• Building trust and credibility with voters
• Obtaining buy-in from school staff and students
“School leaders are being forced to look at alternative ways to provide student services with fewer resources,” said Kremer. “Decisions about mergers and consolidations should be made locally. It is the students, parents, taxpayers and employees in the school district who are most affected.”
The report can be found at www.nyssba.org.
—New York State School Boards Association (NYSBBA)
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:29
A group of Levittown parents are voicing their concerns with letting their children walk to school, since it would mean they would continue to cross Hempstead Turnpike.
“My kid has to cross [Hempstead Tpke.] daily without a crossing guard,” said Division Avenue parent Wendy Lantigua.
For Lantigua and others, the dangers of Hempstead Turnpike became all to real after 13-year-old Brianna Soplin was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, last June. Not to mention the fact that another 14-year-old Levittown student suffered multiple injuries after being struck in hit-and-run, last February.
Saturday, 20 September 2014 00:00
On Sept. 14, Hempstead town officials joined family and friends of fallen New York City paramedic Rudy Havelka, to unveil the re-dedication of Birch Lane in Levittown.
While surviving the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Havelka wou ld later die of an illness related to his service at Ground Zero.
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:34
The annual One Love Long Island (OLLI) Yoga Festival takes place at the Sands Point Preserve on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All profits will be donated to organizations that support survivors of human trafficking, locally and globally.
The festival will unite 16 Long Island yoga studio communities in a round robin of the traditional yogic practice of 108 Sun Salutations from 9:30 a.m. to noon, whose offerings will look to create long-term and sustainable solutions to eradicate the human trafficking epidemic by raising funds and awareness for the cause.
Friday, 19 September 2014 08:33
As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.
“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”