Two Manhasset brothers, Kent and Grant Schietinger, are the proud recipients of President Obama’s Gold Volunteer Service Award for devoting 250 or more hours, individually, to service in 2012. The boys are 11th - grade students at St. Anthony’s High School. The award, consisting of a gold pin, a certificate and a letter from the president, was presented to them last month.
The award is a presidential honor that recognizes the valuable contributions of volunteers nationwide who are answering the call by the chief executive and Congress to serve others. This prestigious national honor was established in 2003 under the administration of President George W. Bush and is issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. It recognizes a sustained commitment to volunteer service.
Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and the Town Board hosted a May 14 reception for dozens of students and parents at town hall, where the annual video contest winners were honored for their work discouraging the use of plastic bags.
The theme of this year’s contest was “Plastic Ain’t My Bag.”
The contest required participants to produce a three-minute video illustrating why using plastic grocery bags ultimately harms the environment and its inhabitants. The students’ submissions incorporated music, graphics, and a wealth of eye-opening information.
CACLA’s series of articles have examined unfunded mandates and out of the many affecting public school districts, we went into detail on: Pension Benefits, Special Education, Wicks Law, the Tax Cap and the Super Majority Vote. As previously discussed, the burden of funding mandates rests with the local public school tax levy, i.e., the taxpayer.
Public school districts have to fund programs that are required by law, either within the state mandated levy cap, or by a 60 percent super majority approval of the budget. The puzzle? How does a school district stay within a cap while, in Manhasset’s case, state aid has declined and the cost of providing employee benefits has grown exponentially? All of this while providing robust educational programs for a student population that has showed steady increases over the past 12 years.
The Citizens Advisory Committee on Finance (CACF) unanimously supports the adopted Manhasset School District Budget of $89,296,198 for the 2013-2014 school year. The budget represents an increase of $2,226,774 (or 2.56 percent) over the prior year. Over the past five years, the average annual increase in the budget has been 2.13 percent.
Employee compensation and benefits total $68,371,042 (or 77 percent) of the total budget. All other expenses combined account for 23 percent of the total budget. The largest factors in the increased expenses were an $854,636 increase in pension contributions to the New York State Retirement System, a $682,893 increase in healthcare and other employee benefit expenses and a $1,134,792 increase in employee compensation, which by themselves would have increased the year-over-year budget by $2,672,321 (or 120 percent of the total budget increase). The net impact of all other budget line items was a decrease of $445,547.
Students from area high schools had an up close and personal look at a day in the life of a New York State Senator when the students shadowed Senator Jack M. Martins for a day in Albany.
As part of a program, Students Inside Albany, run by the League of Women Voters, students head up to Albany to shadow a member of the State Legislature in order to immerse themselves in the study of government, enhancing their academic experiences they learned at home. The students get a first-hand look at how public policy is proposed and enacted in New York State.
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