It was a pretty good crowd for a school board meeting—including school personnel, upwards of 50 people—at the Shelter Rock Elementary School auditorium on March 17. Although she never spoke Linda Stampler stole the show. Stampler teaches business courses at the high school, some are destined for the chopping block, and her students lobbied articulately for reinstatement of those classes.
Dr. William Shine, assistant to the superintendent, likewise has his head on the chopping block, a preemptive strike, explained the administration, to eliminate that argument from those who would use his presence to vote the budget down.
“This is a hostile economic environment,” Deputy Superintendent for Business and Finance Rosemary Johnson said, “a budget to budget increase of 3.67 percent a few years ago would have been considered great, but not today, the world has changed. The past two years the increase year over year has been 1.23 percent and 2.98 percent—we used some reserves to keep it down. “Even so,” she recalled, “last year 3,100 voted and the budget passed by only 140 votes.”
For the past 18 years, since 1993, Susanne Gries has owned The Watermelon Patch at 500 Plandome Road. Like so many on Plandome Road before her she will be closing the door, locking it for the last time on April 15.
Gries is leaving for a combination of reasons, including, of course, the economy. “I’ve been just making enough in the shop to keep it running, hoping it will get better, but it hasn’t been good the last few years. And last fall going into the holidays I said to myself, let’s just get past this. Unfortunately, having given myself the timetable, I had to admit, I can’t do it any longer, it just doesn’t pay.”
Susanne explained how she came to operate the store—“I just inherited it.” The owner before her, Florence, rented near the movie theater where several other individuals showcased their collections, “it was run like a cooperative,” Gries explained. Everyone left within the first year except Susanne and then, in 2001, Florence left too, leaving Gries the sole proprietor.
Interested Manhasset residents were invited to register for a five-year term on the Manhasset Public Library Board of Trustees. The opening is for the seat currently held by Richard Tortora, who has decided not to run. Two candidates, Robert Carrozzo and David Ehrlich, filed petitions for the five-year term as library trustee prior to the Monday, March 14, 5 p.m. deadline.
Mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 29, when the League of Women Voters will sponsor a “Meet the Candidates Night” at the Manhasset Public Library in the downstairs Community Room.
The budget vote and trustee elections will take place on Wednesday, April 13.
The Manhasset Public Library provided the Manhasset Press with the following short biographies of the candidates.
(Submitted by the Manhasset Board of Education)
The 2011-2012 budget process began on Saturday, March 5 as Superintendent Charlie Cardillo and his administrative team gave members of the community a comprehensive look at the many difficult decisions that must be made before the Manhasset Board of Education adopts its budget. This year’s statewide annual Budget Vote and Board Election will be Tuesday, May 17. In an economic and political climate that is the most hostile in years for public education, Mr. Cardillo reviewed the unprecedented challenges facing school districts across New York State. These challenges include large increases in state mandated retirement contributions; a steep rise in health care contributions; the 2 percent tax levy cap which may be in effect for the 2012-13 school year; and state laws that severely limit the options available to boards of education and administrators to make fiscally responsible choices. The events unfolding in Ohio and Wisconsin are occurring in a different political environment than currently exists in New York State.
Elections in most Manhasset villages will take place on Tuesday, March 15 from noon to 9 p.m. Petitions to file to run for office were due by the end of the business day on Feb. 7. All elections are uncontested.
Elections will be held in June in the Village of North Hills.
In Flower Hill, incumbent Trustees Tab M. Hauser, Aviva Pinto, Avery Ryan and Elaine Phillips are each running unopposed for another two-year term. All are members of the Flower Hill Party. The election will take place at the Flower Hill Village Hall, 1 Bonnie Heights Road.
New York State Senator John Flanagan, chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Education, and Senator Jack M. Martins, chair of the Standing Committee on Local Government, co-sponsored a hearing on Feb. 17 in Mineola to accumulate best practices and suggestions to take back to Albany with regard to reducing Property Taxes in New York. Some of the pressures on local government and school district budgets are directly tied to mandated costs. It follows that reduction in property taxes is linked to unfunded Mandate Relief, especially in light of the 2 percent tax cap approved by the New York State Senate in January.The recent Senate approval of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s tax cap that calls for capping the yearly growth of school and local taxes at 2 percent or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less, was the impetus for the hearing.
Since Jan. 1, there have been 183 potholes filled and of those 155 were filled due to residents calling 311. TownStat, North Hempstead’s performance measurement and management system, tracked that information.
Almost beyond expectations, in the wake of an onslaught of potholes that have resulted from this brutal winter season, Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the North Hempstead Town Board announced that the town would fill all potholes on town roads within 48 hours. “North Hempstead residents can rest assured that our highway crews are out in full force,” said Kaiman. “Anyone in North Hempstead can report a pothole and have the confidence that their service request will be taken care of within 48 hours.” If the pothole is located on a village, Nassau County or State road, the town will provide residents with the appropriate contact information.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced Feb. 18, at the Port Washington Town Dock, that he successfully included an amendment to the FAA Reauthorization Bill, that passed the Senate Feb. 17, providing a deadline for the Federal Aviation Administration to implement helicopter flight regulations within 12 months.
This major breakthrough also provides explicit legal authority to the FAA to implement helicopter flight regulations, shielding the agency from any potential litigation. Earlier this year, the FAA announced it was taking comments on proposed regulations, but has not acted to implement them. Schumer’s legislation places a hard and fast deadline to do so and gives explicit authority to the agency, a key to timely promulgation of meaningful regulations.
The Feb. 17 school board meeting was conducted for the first time following the newly formulated bylaws which encourage greater community participation. Accordingly, the agenda is posted on the website and estimated times are provided for each agenda item. Another new feature is that residents can submit questions to the board to be answered at the meetings.
The second floor boardroom was filled to capacity with 11th grade students in Mrs. Untracht’s and Mrs. Kannengieser’s classes who had been declared regional winners in the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards 2011 contest: Julia Comerford, Michael Domanico, Rachel Lii, Julia Smaldone and Emily Snedeker. Families of the award-winning students were also present, intermingled with members of the Manhasset Educational Support Personnel Association, (MESPA). Each group easily identifiable: parents by their cameras; employees by their circular, bright yellow buttons, “MESPA Without Contracts.” School board President Cindy Cardinal thanked those MESPA workers responsible for clearing roadways so well following the recent snowstorms allowing parents and buses to get through.
School board member Regina Rule, before becoming a trustee, was active in the formation of the Manhasset Citizens Advisory Committee for Legislative Affairs. In the article to the left, that committee is referenced: “… the attorneys said that it is perfectly legal to involve the communities in creating the aspirational goals that would lead to more mutually beneficial contracts with teachers across Long Island. North Shore Board of Education President Dr. Igor Webb added that the idea for this meeting began, in fact, through Manhasset’s Citizens Advisory Committee on Legislative Action, and the idea was to include not only administrators and boards, but any local residents with input.”
Ms. Rule has attended board meetings and recent joint meetings of local school boards. At the request of the Manhasset Press she has provided the following account:
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