The district continues to cultivate a strong partnership between our parents and teachers. We realize communication is an important component of this relationship. This school year, 2013-14, we opened the “Parent Portal” feature of our student management system for our secondary school parents. Specifically, the parent portal will allow parents to access their child’s attendance, grades, and quarterly reports. In fact, we hope to place our progress reports and report cards on the parent portal in the near future. This confidential link will provide parents timely information about their child’s progress in school. Although information was sent home to all families, please let the school know if there is any trouble logging onto the “Parent Portal”.
Editor’s note: This is a response to Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos’s “County Financial Report Card,” published in The New Hyde Park Illustrated News, Sept. 11-17 edition. Howard Weitzman is running on the Democratic line against Maragos in the November election.
George Maragos continues to mislead the public by falsely claiming that the county’s financial condition has improved on his watch. During Mr. Maragos’s tenure as Nassau County’s fiscal watchdog, the county has undergone three bond downgrades by the credit rating agencies, the county’s fiscal outlook has been lowered from “stable” to “negative,” and the county’s debt has reached a new all-time high. No amount of “cooking the books” and issuing misleading financial statements and press releases can hide this truth, a truth which can be easily verified by outside sources.
On March 25, 2013, Ray Lang, died suddenly at the age of 48. He left a widow and 3 children, but because of a lifelong illness he died without life insurance. In addition to dealing with the emotional loss, the family also faces serious financial challenges, including the fact that 2 of the 3 children will attend college in the fall. Ray was a longtime coach in both Hicksville and Levittown. Casey, the youngest child, played sports for Holy Family CYO for many years and this year coached one of our volleyball teams.
The mid-year financial projections for 2013 indicate that the County will end the year with a $5.6 million budgetary surplus. This follows on the heels of 2012’s surplus of $41.5 million, now confirmed by independent auditors. These budget surpluses are due to increased sales tax revenues from the improving economy (up 10.4 percent year to date) and reduced Social Service costs due to lower unemployment (down to 6 percent, one of the lowest rates in New York State and lower than that of Suffolk County and New York City.)
I had known J. Fred Sparke for many years and had many interesting talks with him about Island Trees and the area surrounding this part of Long Island. He used to talk about how the area, which had started to overflow with new homes and people in the late 1940s, was at one time a true farm community.
The Sparke family had lived in this area of Island Trees for over 200 years, and had been farming the land these many years. J. Fred Sparke was the son of Henry Sparke, a founder of the Island Trees School District back in 1902.
As a long time Nassau County educator, I’ve seen a lack of interest at best, and some negligence to be sure, regarding fiscal management in some school districts in Nassau. The past County Executive administrations have done nothing to address these issues and have in fact exacerbated the situation by ignoring them.
State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has claimed that he “welcomes” an ethics investigation into his public (but secret!) $103,000 payoff in the Vito Lopez sexual harassment case, but I wonder if he truly “welcomes” being investigated — any more than:
Long Island Wins has long been out to spread the word: immigrants from all around the world come to Long Island to work hard and take care of their families.
One thing that‘s a constant source of pleasant surprise for me is just how many different ways immigrants are refreshing Long Island’s entrepreneurial spirit.
Raj Kumar is one of those people. Born in Jammu, India and raised in Kuwait, Raj first arrived in Miami in 1980 to attend Florida International University. After graduating he packed up and moved to Long Island in 1987. Kumar came to Hicksville to pursue his dream of one day starting his own business.
In March, the Island Trees School District notified the community through a mailing about the issues surrounding the closing of the Gallow Elementary School on Farmedge Road. In response to the financial concerns, we have partnered with Oxford & Simpson Realty, Inc. in the visioning and disposition of the Gallow/Karopczyc property in Levittown. At this point, Oxford & Simpson seeks input using their “FarmedgeVision” Facebook page www.Facebook.com/FarmedgeVision.
We encourage our school community and stakeholders to visit the site and share their input through the survey tool. We hope that all of our school stakeholders have the opportunity to review the website and share their views.
In this process, the community is the front line of input, weighing in on concepts, which then will become the catalyst for the decision-making process. If the community has any questions, please contact me and also share your thoughts on the FarmedgeVision Facebook page.
Thirty years ago this October, the U.S. Department of Education published its “A Nation at Risk” report wherein it described a “rising tide of mediocrity” in America’s system of public education. It prognosticated, quite accurately, that this generation would be the first in American history to be less educated than the one preceding it. It was hardly a shocker to me, somebody who, back in 1983, had just received a degree in biology and was toying with the idea of going into education notwithstanding the fact that I’ve never found schooling to be intellectually stimulating. After all, I was in all the “advanced” Regents classes in high school where intellectual curiosity was discouraged and every question answered with an obligatory and exasperated “don’t worry, that won’t be on the Regents”. The SATs were even more of an exercise in the serious pursuit of trivia.
Having assimilated data rather than been endowed with knowledge, having been trained to be a game show contestant rather than an educated person, I missed out on learning opportunities that students in less “advanced” classes were free to indulge. To this day, I’ve considered my true education to have been visiting, volunteering for, and working with, museums, libraries, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries and preservationist societies; ravenously reading books on science, history, and philosophy; observing wildlife and entomologizing in the field; writing for newspapers and magazines.
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