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State Aid: Slight Uptick For Mineola

School district doesn’t expect any other increase

The Mineola School District saw a .58 percent increase, or $26,253 from 2012-13, in Gov. Cuomo’s preliminary state aid figures released last week. The state awarded Mineola $4,492,542 last year.

Mineola saw “a slight” increase in building aid, according to Finance Superintendent Jack Waters, but a reduction in high tax aid. The district received $290,733 last year, but just $87,219 next year.

Negotiations are still ongoing, according to district reps. But Waters isn’t expecting much to change.

“I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to go out with a budget calculation including a state aide number that’s any higher that they’re telling me we’re going to get,” he said.

Mineola revealed that pension cost increases for next year are about $1.5 million. Under state law, Mineola could put out a 3.05 percent tax increase for the next year, with half of the estimated pension spikes not included, leveling out piercing the cap, a move the district does not want to make.

Mandated increases from the state do not give Mineola wiggle room, but the district is confidant that it can budget accordingly, despite getting a flat aid rate year-to-year.

“We have to budget accordingly based on what we’re getting and what our calculation right now is on the levy cap,” Waters stated.

Mineola’s budget cannot exceed the calculations of state aid, other revenue (school rentals, etc.) and the tax levy.

Pension cost estimations, Waters said, could be anywhere from 15.5 to 16.5 percent or $5.9 million. Employee cost rates for this year is 11.84 percent, with an estimated increase of 4.16 percent next year. The 2012-13 Teacher Retirement System payroll totals $37 million.

The first 2 percent of the employee cost rate is included in the levy cap calculation, according to Waters. Any increase over the 2 percent is exempt from the levy cap, which means if the district chooses, it can exceed the cap.

“The governor’s budget is a proposal and, as we negotiate a final budget for New York State, I will be working with my colleagues toward securing more state aid for Long Island school districts,” Senator Jack Martins said. “In this economy, every school district is a high needs district when it comes to funding.”

The governor’s budget must be ratified by April 1.


News

Senator Jack Martins discussed education, business and drug use among other topics in a an exclusive interview with this newspaper and FiOS 1 News. He’s currently seeking re-election in November, being challenged by Democrat Adam Haber. Pointing to what he called “key legislation,” particularly the tax cap legislation passed in 2011 and prescription drug bill he helped shepherd to enactment, Martins feels New York State is on track to continue fiscal responsibility.

 

“In these last four years, we’ve had four balanced budgets, we’ve cut taxes working together, we have paid off debt, streamlined government, kept spending below 2 percent each one of those years,” Martins said.

A contingent of 80 Mineola runners embarked on their first trek to lower Manhattan last year for the Tunnel To Towers 5K Run through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel toward the World Trade Center site. This year, the United Mavericks, a networking group of local business people that support local charities and causes, are gearing up surpass that number.

Mavericks reps say they’re half way to gathering 1,000 people to run in the event’s 13th year on Saturday, Sept. 28.

 

The run honors a fireman Stephen Siller, who was enjoying a day off planning to play golf before he learned the Twin Towers were hit by two airplanes during the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. He was one of the 343 firefighters who died when the towers collapsed.


Sports

Though it had already hosted the series of lacrosse games during the regular season this past spring, Chaminade High School’s new Gold Star Stadium was officially christened on Saturday, Sept. 6, named in honor of the 56 alumni who had perished during combat.

 

“Tradition holds that when one dies in the service a gold star is given to the family,” said Chaminade President Bro. Thomas Cleary. “Our 56 Gold Star Alumni are honored for their selflessness, courage, and integrity.”

Although the expectations for the 2014 Mineola Mustangs boy’s varsity soccer season may be somewhat measured, the team enters the season with the goal of a berth in the Nassau County playoffs. The team is young and inexperienced but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 

There is considerable talent on the horizon. There are only four starting seniors and five sophomores on the roster. Four year starting senior forward Daniel Pardo returns (19 goals in three seasons) as does senior standout goalkeeper Andrew Pereira.


Calendar

Town Zoning Meeting - September 17

International Night - September 18

Bereavement Support Group - September 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
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