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BOE Opposes County Executive’s Plan to End the ‘County Guarantee’

The Manhasset Board of Education held its Oct. 7 meeting at the Manhasset/Great Neck EOC Hagedorn Community Center on High Street, Leslie House received the “Maggie Award” and the EOC summer program volunteers from Manhasset High School were recognized: Nick Bilotto, Tori Branch, Adriana Kavoussi, Patrick McGorry, Alex Miradoli, Sara Mitsinikos, Shivam Patel
Armand Markarian, director of facilities, provided an impressive construction update for Summer 2010, illustrating many projects with before and after photographs, including the new fence at Memorial Field. Projects were completed at both elementary schools where this year Munsey Park welcomed 950 students and Shelter Rock welcomed 750 students. The auditorium in the secondary school was beautifully refurbished, and there were many more improvements to the physical plant.
School board member Regina Rule attended a recent meeting of school boards to implore the legislature to continue the County Guarantee. She reported that every school district is to pass the resolution to express its discontent with County Executive Mangano’s plan to partially balance the county budget by shifting responsibility for tax certiorari from the county to the schools.

Resolutions to Be Passed by Nassau County Boards of Education

The resolution for Manhasset schools reads in part, “Be it resolved, that the Manhasset Union Free School District Board of Education opposes any legislation, from whatever source, that would shift the responsibility of the County of Nassau for funding multi-year tax certiorari settlements of its assessment errors onto the local school district tax levy.”
The school board passed the above resolution because as part of the plan to close the current $315 million County budget gap, Nassau County Executive Mangano has proposed ending the county guarantee which holds school districts harmless from payments of property tax claims.
The County Guarantee dates back to 1948 when the New York State Legislature determined that Nassau County should be responsible for costs and penalties resulting from its errors in assessment.  This proposal is being made without the approval of New York State or the county school districts, and it would result in a shift of the payments from the county to the individual school districts.  Rule commented further that this action would raise school taxes without providing any educational value, and the language contained in the proposed County budget that states: ”no property tax increase” is false and misleading.
In addition to the legal arguments to support the above resolution, because the school districts have no role in making property tax assessments or in responding to challenges of the assessments, Rule stated they should have no responsibility for errors made during the assessment process.  Complicating the process further is the fact that under current state law, school districts have no legal vehicle to reserve these monies, should this legislation pass.

Acceptance of Gifts

The board accepted a gift to the district of 15 fans for the Munsey Park Elementary School classrooms, in the approximate value of $968.50, from the SCA and the Class of 2010.
The board accepted a gift to the district from Fong and Charles Hsiao of $1000 to the Manhasset Marching Band.
The board accepted gifts to the district from Manhasset Community Coalition Against Substance Abuse (CASA) in the amount of $4,900.
A special recognition and presentation will highlight the Oct. 21 Board of Education public session. Mr. Donald Scott, high school science teacher since 1968, and track/cross country coach since 1972, will be honored on his 500th cross country win and for his coaching career of nearly four decades.