Written by Pat Grace: email@example.com Friday, 25 May 2012 00:00The board and administration expressed delight at the May 17 board meeting over the solid support behind the 2012 school budget that passed with a 69.6 percent yes votes. In the eerily quiet weeks prior to the vote, one of the very few letters to the editor on this subject began with the improbable “For the first time ever, the Manhasset Proponents of School Accountability (MPSA) and the Port Washington Educational Assembly (PWEA) are supporting the proposed school budgets in our communities, as both budgets are meeting the new tax cap limits.” Coupled with an uncontested trustee election in which Carlo Prinzo was re-elected and Ann Marie Curd-Fruhauf was elected for the first time to fill the spot vacated by retiring Cindy Cardinal, it was quiet indeed.
At the meeting, it was learned the administration is re-organizing in preparation for 1213 and beyond, in part to prepare for the implementation of state mandates: Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) for teachers and principals.
When assistant to the superintendent Bill Shine left, his position was collapsed into two positions. Anthony Ambrogio continued teaching the arts but added the position of assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Mara Steindam, administrator for social studies, also became administrator for human resources.
The administration now feels the need for an administrator dedicated to curriculum and instruction and they thanked Ambrogio and Steindam for stepping up to the plate when needed. Ambrogio has been re-appointed administrator for the arts and human resources and Steindam has been re-appointed to the position of district coordinator of social studies, both as of July 1. Returning to being coordinators in their respective disciplines is something, Superintendent Cardillo announced, that is important regarding the state mandates.
Charles Leone, assistant principal, Munsey Park Elementary School, will assume a three year probationary term as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, a position, Cardillo said, that reflects his passion and will also be effective July1. Leone has spent nine years at Munsey Park, now heavily enrolled at about 950 students. He had been employed prior to that by the Great Neck School District.
The position of assistant to the president held by Dr. Shine, Cardillo said, had no boundaries, no delineation. Cardillo explained further that due to the magnitude of challenges faced today resulting from the tax cap, the need to change the curriculum (CCSS) and the need to evaluate teachers (APPR) as required by the state, administrative changes had to be made.
The state continues, Cardillo said, to impose unfunded mandates on school districts, while legislating that districts hold budget increases to a 2 percent tax levy cap. Rosemary Johnson, deputy superintendent for business and finance, said under contingency, administration expenses cannot grow, the implementation of the Common Core Curriculum and APPR mandate (including the adoption of a new teacher evaluation rubric and principal evaluation rubric) required significant administrative attention diverting extensive administrative time away from the daily operation and supervision of the programs and buildings.
Johnson also explained the districts are getting hammered on unemployment costs, where substitute teachers who work three days for the district are filing for unemployment for the other two days. Additionally, Johnson said, the district is required to reimburse retirees on their share of Medicare premiums. When asked if that was negotiated with employees, Johnson responded, “We reimburse 100 percent for the retiree’s cost of Medicare and that’s required by New York State.”
That alone, she commented, is costing the district in excess of $500,000.
Johnson also said historically schools maintained reserves of 10-15 percent or even higher, but to remain under the 2 percent tax levy cap, 99 percent of districts used reserves. She said Moody’s rating agency is aware of the rules limiting school reserves and of the current trend of depleting them. The tax levy cap makes it very difficult, she added, noting the district had negotiated a reduction in the district’s debt service but, under the tax levy cap, that the money saved cannot be used to “offset other stuff,” such as increased pension and health care costs, and unfunded mandates like the Medicare reimbursements.
Johnson reported she has had discussions with Comptroller Tom DiNapoli’s office on how the tax levy cap puts pressure on school districts to spend down reserves and incur additional debt, and discourages prudent fiscal management. “The reality of living with the tax levy cap is reserves can’t be replenished,” Johnson said.
The next board meeting is Thursday, May 31, in the secondary school board room at 8 p.m.
Saturday, 18 May 2013 00:00
Manhasset resident Arda Nazerian Haratunian is lending her expertise and support to ERASE Racism, a civil rights non-profit that advocates for racial equity on Long Island. As a member of its planning committee for the third year in a row, she is helping to organize ERASE Racism’s Annual Benefit Celebration, which will take place on June 5 at the Garden City Hotel.
A strategic communications consultant, Arda has more than 25 years experience in both the private and public sectors. She most recently served as senior policy advisor and communications director to former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi and previously worked for New York Governor Mario Cuomo. During the decade between her two careers in public service, Arda was on Wall Street, serving as managing director of global corporate communications for Citigroup’s Corporate and Investment Bank and before that, head of media and public relations at the American Stock Exchange.
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
There is a floral treasure in Manhasset, something unique: it’s the greenhouse in front of Manhasset Florist on Orchard Street. “Having my own greenhouse ensures premium plant growth and creates optimum conditions. This allows me to offer the healthiest plants to my customers,” says owner Alexander Otis. Indeed, the plants look truly perfect and a delightful scent of blossoms fills the air of the greenhouse.
“My father bought the business and property 45 years ago. During those years, he opened a total of five flower shops in Nassau County,” said Alex. His father trained him and his sister Aretta in the flower business. “While still attending high school we both helped on Saturdays and during our vacations,” he explains. Alex graduated from the New York Institute of Technology as an architect and worked as an engineer for over six years before returning to his roots to help his father manage his five flower shops and to run one, Garden City Florist. “When my father retired in 1999, I took over Manhasset Florist & Greenhouse and Aretta took over Port Washington Florist.”
Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
One of Manhasset’s 12U intramural baseball teams defeated Great Neck in the first game played at the renovated Valley Park field on Saturday April 27. Manhasset’s offense scored 10 runs, including a home run from Devin Callery, while pitchers Logan Hyde, Jeff Torborg, James Marchetti and Grant Petracca combined to limit Great Neck to one hit with 11 strikeouts in six innings. Edward Jarvis, Robert DeCastro, Massimo Abruzzo, Colby Schmidt, Gabriel Cohen, Spencer Kaye and Justin Louie each contributed quality defensive plays. Manhasset raised its record to 4-0 and stands in first place in the inter-town intramural league, which includes 8 teams from Merillon, Albertson-Herricks, Great Neck and Manhasset.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:34
The Manhasset Junior Varsity Ice Hockey Team finished their season Wednesday night, April 17, beating Bellmore/Merrick 4-3 in the championship game at the Bethpage Community Park Ice Rink. Wednesday’s finale marked the end of an impressive campaign by the Indians which included a 19-1 regular season record and a trip to the New York State Championship in Ithaca.
Manhasset got off to a strong start scoring four times in the first period on goals by Michael Walsh, Michael Brzozowski, Mario De Bueriis, and Matthew Cecchini whose tally would prove to be the game winner. Nolan Behringer, Ryan Kiess, and goaltender Alex Feinstein led the defense in shutting down a powerful Bellmore/Merrick squad, securing Manhasset’s first ever Junior Varsity Championship.