As the Mineola School District prepares to weather the economic crisis, School Superintendent Dr. Larry Licopoli has met with union representatives about the possibility of salary freezes or givebacks to the district. However, Dr. Licopoli reported that the unions were not prepared to engage in a conversation with regard to freezing salaries.
The current contracts with the Association of Mineola School Administrators and the Mineola Teachers' Association run through the 2010-2011 school year; the current contract with the bus drivers and custodial staff union expires after the 2009-2010 school year; the current contract with the clerical union expires after the 2009-2010 school year and the contract with the Mineola Teacher Aide Association expires after the current school year so any contractual changes with that union would be part of the negotiation with that union for the next contract.
"It's very disheartening," said school board member Terence Hale. "It's very upsetting that they [the union representatives] would not think about helping out [during this difficult economic time]."
Dr. Licopoli said the staff of the district recognizes the economic climate that school districts throughout Long Island face during a time when the state is facing a budget crisis. But he also said the staff works very hard and have been aces in terms of their time and commitment to the students of the district.
There could be further discussion involving union representatives, school board representatives and the superintendent.
In the Riverhead School District, raises for the administrators were frozen for next school year, saving that district approximately $112,000. Based on the contract between the Mineola Board of Education and the Mienola administrators' union, the Mineola School administator will receive a 4 percent raise in each of the next two years.
Currently, the board may be looking at putting a budget for the 2009-2010 school in front of voters in May that has a tax levy increase of 3.94 percent, below the 4 percent tax cap recommended by the Governor.
Labor Day is known as the unofficial end of summer since, following that last day of barbecues, it's back to school. Well, not this year. The Mineola School Board approved the school calendar for the 2009-2010 school year and students will be going back to school before Labor Day.
In the Mineola School District, the first two days of school will be Wednesday, Sept. 2 and Thursday, Sept. 3. Students will then have Friday, Sept. 4, the weekend, and then Monday, Sept. 7 (Labor Day) off from school before returning on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Mineola Board of Education member Will Hornberger said that it seems haphazard for students to start school, then have four days off, only to start up again. Dr. Licopoli and Deputy Superintendent Dr. Michael Nager, who will be superintendent of school when the 2009-2010 school year opens, feel the first two days of school, Sept. 2 and 3, could be used for orientation and getting students accustomed to the school setting before hitting the ground running on Tuesday, Sept. 8, the day after Labor Day.
The board passed the calendar unanimously.
Dr. Licopoli, Mineola Middle School Principal Mark Barth, Assistant Principal Whittney Smith and Math Instructional Leader Ian Dunst, as well as the board of education, recognized 14 middle school students for their participation in the Adelphi Excelsior Program, a two-week science and math enrichment program. The students received certificates of merit from Governor David Paterson.
The students are: Sang Min Bak, Seung Joo Cha, Calbert Chan, Delores Chichi, Aldany Diaz, Julia Fabiano, Stephin Jose, Lina Kim, Taylor Lenze, Cora Leung, Samantha Mendoza, Alexandra Mendoza, Rohit Singla and Jiaying Wei.