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District Honors Some of Levittown Schools’ Finest Students

At most recent Levittown Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, May 10, President Michael Pappas urged the Levittown community to come out and support the School District Budget in a vote that was scheduled to be held on Tuesday, May 17.

The meeting opened with Pappas leading the rest of the board in a special ceremony to honor several talented students from around the district.

Division Avenue High School artists Stephanie Shisko and Giana Sini took first and second place, respectively, in the Heckscher Museum of Art Best Young Artists search and the board presented them with certificates for their tremendous talent.

Some of Division’s top athletes were also given special recognition, as Erica Schneider (Long Island Bowler of the Year) and the rest of the Lady Dragons Bowling Team received awards.

SkillsUSA winners, including four from Division and six from MacArthur, also received a warm applause from the audience and praise from the board. The program partners students, teachers and industry professionals together to help students excel and ensure America has a skilled workforce in the future.

Division winners included Vito Aluzzo (Carpentry), Dylan Hoyt (Food Prep Assistant), Richard Jensen (Action Skills), and Alyssa Rios (3D Visualization and Animation).

MacArthur awards went to James Costigliola (Automotive), Douglas Duzant (Architectural Drafting), Kristina Fontano (Commercial Baking), Megan Dockweiler (Commercial Baking), Rebecca Levy (Food and Beverage Services) and Brendan Marshall (Carpenter’s Assistant).

Island Trees winners were Jacqueline Pastore (Job Demonstration) and Jason Waters (Video Production Development).

Following the awards ceremony, five speakers took to the podium in the “Public Be Heard” comment period.

Levittown resident Debbie Howe, speaking on behalf of the PTA, expressed concerns that some of the district’s vending machines were not in compliance with the Nutrition Education Goals stated on the Levittown Public Schools website.

“Some of the vending machines in our schools have Sour Patch Kids, Snickers bars and Fun Dip,” said Howe. “This is a violation of the district’s wellness policy.”

According to the district website, “fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat dairy products, healthy food preparation methods and health enhancing nutrition practices shall be promoted.”

Wantagh resident Colleen Napoli was next up at the podium, and she updated the board on the status of a recent petition and letter that she wrote to Levittown United Teachers (LUT) President Therese Rogers. “I received a lot of positive feedback that resulted in the collection of over 1,000 resident signatures on a petition directed to the LUT to request its membership to fairly negotiate concessions to their current contract in an effort to aid our community during a national economic crisis,” said Napoli.

East Broadway Elementary School teacher Jennifer Thearle was another speaker in the Public Be Heard portion of the meeting and discussed the importance of sparing the district’s reading program from budget cutbacks.

“The board is looking to find ways to make cuts that have the least negative impact on our kids,” responded Trustee Edward Powers.

Summit Lane PTA member Theresa Tonis also made a presentation, expressing concerns over increased class sizes for second graders in the district. “We need to use our resources wisely,” said Tonis. “The cuts need to be equally distributed.”

The next speaker was Wantagh resident Jane Finkelstein, and she questioned the board if teacher concessions would actually be a $3.9 million savings to the district.

Another item discussed was an early morning program, tentatively titled “L.A.M.P.” (Levittown A.M. Program). The day-care-style idea is intended to appeal to working parents who are in need of assistance before regular school hours. The program is expected to be available from 7:10 until 9:10 a.m. and will cost $100 per month per student.

Next on the agenda was a motion to discard or donate obsolete equipment including a shredder at Wisdom Lane, two printers at Levittown Memorial Education Center, three cameras at Division Avenue High School, a printer at Jonas E. Salk Middle School and 26 books at East Broadway Elementary School.

The board also approved Tender Garden (3100 Hempstead Turnpike) and Kiddie Junction (3 North Village Green) as the two sites for the Universal Pre-K Program for the 2011-12 school year and agreed to raise Adult Education Tuition rates by 21 cents per hour, from $6.47 to $6.68, effective July 1, 2011.

Times for the 2011-12 school year were adjusted to 7:27 a.m. to 2:25 p.m. (High School and GCTech), 7:57 a.m. to 2:55 p.m. (Middle School), and 9:10 a.m. to 3:28 p.m. (Elementary).