The Levittown Board of Education unanimously adopted a $198.7 million spending plan for the 2014-2015 school year, which comes with a proposed tax levy increase of 1.62 percent. This represents a $2.1 million increase from last year, for a proposed levy of $133.2 million.
The Levittown school district will receive $49,163,299 in state aid for the 2014-2015 school year, which increased by $690,049 from last year’s budget. The other revenues also show an increase of $684,250 from last year.
In the past seven years, the district received its largest percentage of state aid in 2008-2009 with 30 percent. According to Assistant Superintendent Bill Pastore, state aid has decreased since then, leveling off for the past few years and coming in at slightly below 25 percent for 2014-15.
On April 8, members of the Levittown Property Owners Association invited all seven candidates in the running for Island Trees School District Board of Education to a “Meet the Candidates” forum. Of the seven only four attended, and only three spoke on the dais.
According to Levittown Property Owners President Diane Kirk, members of the Island Trees School District were invited to attend the forum, but declined stating that they were going to attend their own forum on May 12.
Challenger Brian Fielding, a 1995 Island Trees High School graduate, opened the forum with the promise of more transparency.
Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, or perhaps an errant interpretation of state law, nearly 2,000 military veterans and Gold Star families in Levittown and Island Trees will have to wait for their tax break until next year.
Both the Levittown and Island Trees school districts are among several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending the exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. Earlier this year, trustees in both districts voted unanimously to provide a school tax exemption for veterans living in the district, starting with the 2014-15 school year.
In response to the criticism from the community over the proposed sale of 11.3 acres of school district property housing the Stephen E. Karopczyc and Geneva N. Gallow school facilities, the Island Trees Board of Education has revealed the details of an $18 million proposal to develop housing for seniors (age 55 and up).
“People should be aware of the whole story,” said Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy. “There is this perception that [the board] acted hastily... It was not just a quick decision over chump change.”
The ELIJA school for autistic children has just settled into its new home, after signing a three-year lease to rent out the 13-room Laurel Lane primary school in Levittown. On World Autism Awareness Day, April 2, ELIJA school stakeholders gathered with county, town and school officials for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting event.
“This is a fantastic use of the property,” said Hempstead Town Councilman Gary Hudes. “It involves and helps people in the community.”
ELIJA—which stands for Empowering Long Island’s Journey Through Autism—is a not-for-profit organization that was founded by two parents in the spring of 2002 and uses applied behavior analysis to keep educational programs effective, exciting, enjoyable, for children with austistic spectrum disorders.
Due to the recent buzz surrounding the use of e-cigarettes by minors, the Island Trees School District Board of Education recently voted to enact a campus-wide ban of electronic cigarette use by students, teachers, parents, faculty and staff.
Although marketed as a means to help people quit smoking, e-cigarettes still contain all the addictive properties of the traditional cigarette.
“It is promoted as an alternative to cigarettes, but it is really not,” said Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy. “It is the same thing, basically, as smoking... this isn’t a healthy alternative.”
After claiming the grand prize in the last year’s Incredible Bionic Man Challenge, members of the Island Trees High School robotic team No. 545, Robodawgs, have been hard at work preparing for the regional robotics competition at Hofstra University. This past weekend, the Robodawgs competed against both local and national teams in the “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”—or FIRST—regional robotics competition, placing 27 out of 50 teams.
The hard-working troop worked together with their technology teachers Mr. Norton and Dr. Andrew Sass to complete their robot within the six week timeframe provided, and brainstormed the best possible robot to build within the time alotted.
In response to numerous requests from the Island Trees school community, the district plans to turn on the new high school stadium lights from Monday to Thursday until 9 p.m., on a trial basis. According to school officials, the pilot will help the district evaluate the community usage to determine if it will extend the stadium hours of operation in the future.
“The soccer club is trying to take as much practice time as they can at night,” said Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy. “And our youth football team will want equal time.”
After working to pair down a proposed $59.6 million spending plan for the 2014-2015 school year, the Island Trees Union Free School district now estimates a .4 percent levy increase from last year.
“We’re still in the budgeting process,” said Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy, “There is a strong possibility that we will end up with a zero percent tax levy.”
This week, the Levittown Public Schools will administer the New York State ELA and Mathematics assessments to students in grades 3-8. However, due to growing concerns from parents planning to have their children “opt out” of the examinations, Levittown Schools
Superintendent Dr. James Grossane sent a letter to inform parents how the district will handle students refusing to take the standardized tests.
In his letter, Grossane stresses that parents who do not want their children to take the state assessments must notify the district beforehand.
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