Written by Manhasset Superintendent of Schools Charles Cardillo Friday, 15 March 2013 00:00
At the Saturday, March 2 Manhasset Board of Education budget work session, the audience was asked to consider the following question: If back in May 2008, you were informed by the board that the community would be guaranteed a five year average budget-to-budget increase of 2.53 percent and average tax levy increase of 3.11 percent, would you have supported such a resolution? Several community members seated in the audience responded, “I would sign on the dotted line,” and “I am all in,” suggesting that these increases, as an average, support the maintenance of the “4A’s” – Academics, Arts, Athletics and Activities - in Manhasset and are a reasonable expectation for continued excellence in our schools.
Here we are, five years later. Including the preliminary working budget for 2013-14, the board has delivered on this five-year average during incredibly challenging economic times. For those of you who were unable to make the well-attended budget work session, you should be aware that the school district is confronted with the reduction of $6,832,380 from the superintendent’s preliminary working budget and tax levy if the budget does not pass on Tuesday, May 21, or on a second vote which would follow several weeks later. Quite simply, such a reduction would mean a drastic change in what the Manhasset community has historically cherished in its K-12 educational programs, including a significant adverse impact on the current structure of the “4 A’s.” You may wonder, “How did we get to this point?” The following provides a summary of the historical and financial circumstances that have led us to this critical moment for our schools.
A review of recent financial history reminds us that the Manhasset school board and central administration began a self-imposed tax levy cap three years prior to the actual implementation of the state imposed tax levy cap. The 2009-2010 tax levy increase was 0.45 percent, while at the same time, other school districts in Nassau County saw an average tax levy increase of 2.78 percent. During a period of four years, Manhasset’s budget increases, covering the period from 2009/10 to 2012/13, had an average tax levy increase of 1.69 percent compared to the other school districts throughout Nassau County with an average of 2.90 percent. At the same time, Manhasset’s average budget-to-budget increase of 2.02 percent during this period of time remained consistently lower than the Nassau County average of 2.32 percent. Simultaneously, Manhasset’s schools were experiencing a growth in enrollment of 8.15 percent while the school districts throughout Nassau County saw a 2.36 percent decline in enrollment. During this four- year period, Manhasset prudently used reserves and fund balance of $8,403,859 to offset tax levy increases. Because the district has used, in part, its reserves and fund balance to maintain low budget and levy increases over the last four years, as such it is no longer available for the 2013-2014 school year, nor is the ability to replenish these accounts. The 2013-14 preliminary working budget reflects $0 in reserves and fund balance as a source of tax levy relief for 2013-14.
The superintendent’s 2013-2014 preliminary working budget reflects a 4.61 percent budget-to-budget increase with an 8.78 percent tax levy increase. Placed in context, our five-year average, including the 2013-2014 budget proposal, is a 2.53 percent budget-to-budget and 3.11 percent tax levy increase. The question before us is, “Is the Manhasset community ‘all in’ for the continuation of the quality of the “4A’s” in our schools?”
In an upcoming column, I will provide specific details of the implications of a drastic change in the nature of the “4 A’s” in Manhasset. I would encourage each of you to become better informed by going to the link below on the school district’s website: http://www.manhasset.k12.ny.us/Budget.cfm?subpage=12223
Here, we have provided a complete video breakdown by topic of the executive summary presentation made at the Saturday March 2 budget work session. The videos are broken into four-to-six minute components which allow you, over a period of several days, to gain insight into the key elements and the many challenges of the superintendent’s preliminary working budget.
Wednesday, 22 May 2013 00:00
Submitted by Manhasset Post 304 American Legion
Matthew Falcone, commander of the Manhasset Post 304 American Legion, and James Brooks, parade chairman, have announced the parade order and schedule for the 2013 Manhasset Memorial Day Parade and Memorial Services. All Manhasset residents, their families and friends are invited to join the Legion in this remembrance of the great sacrifices of our American heroes. The theme of the parade this year, “Honoring Those Who Serve in Special Operations,” is a reminder that, while Memorial Day honors all deceased veterans, the intention is to remember service personnel engaged around the world in an effort to preserve American freedom and way of life from global terrorism.
A memorial service in honor of Manhasset’s war dead will be held at the Community Reformed Church, 90 Plandome Rd., on Sunday, May 26, at 10 a.m. Pastor Steven D. Pierce will officiate. All are urged to attend and to join with the Legion in the remembrance of the great sacrifice of our military.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
That first meeting, culminating in the May 2 ribbon-cutting for organic vegetable and herb gardens at all three Manhasset school campuses, was in September 2012.
Two organizations, both formed under the auspices of the SCA, were involved: Planet Manhasset, which under president Angela Classi and officers Merilyn Donnelly, Zari Ginsburg and Connie Parsons, spearheaded the construction of each site and Project Share, the which will distribute the produce raised to families in need. Classi, during the ribbon-cutting, told the students they were limited only by their imagination, and encouraged each one to embrace the secondary school garden as their own.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
Gymnast Alexis Stern, an eighth-grader at Manhasset Middle School, represented New York State in the Junior Olympic National Championships held in the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek, MI the weekend of May 3. Competing against the top Level 9 gymnasts in the country, Alexis took home a bronze medal on the balance beam with a 9.45 and finished 12th in the country with an impressive 36.80 all around score (bars, beam, floor, and vault). Alexis earned her spot on the Junior Olympic team with a third place finish at the Level 9 North East USAG Regional Championship held in Springfield, MASS and was also recognized as one of New York’s top Level 9 gymnasts. Alexis trains five days a week at Gold Medal Gymnastics Center in Greenlawn under the tutelage of Hall of Fame Coach Tammy Marshall.
Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
On April 7, the Manhasset High School Crew Team held its first 5K Walk/Run fundraiser, which started and ended in the Flower Hill Village Park. More than 300 participants came out to race or stroll through Flower Hill, while raising funds for two great causes.
Proceeds from the event will fund additional equipment for the growing MHS crew team, with 10 percent of monies raised contributed to the Manhasset UFSD Fields Initiative, a fund created to re-turf the MHS Stadium Field and create a new field at Shelter Rock Elementary School. Barbara Thermos, who organized and coordinated the 5K event, noted, ”It was a great way for the community to come together for these causes, connecting with neighbors and friends while getting some exercise on a gorgeous, crisp sunny morning. Both causes support healthy athletic opportunities for Manhasset’s youth.”