Written by Rich Forestano Wednesday, 05 March 2014 00:00
The Mineola School District Board of Education disbanded its finance committee last week. Mineola is not required by law to have a finance committee. They are only mandated to hold an audit committee in place, officials said.
“I felt that we were asking the committee to stay in place without any real purpose, at least from my point of view,” School Board President Artie Barnett said. “I think we could have a discussion and see if they are needed or not.”
Citing changes in the budgetary process, district trustees feel crafting a budget, although fiscally challenging, is pretty cut and dry due to the 2 percent tax cap.
“We struggled from a board of education perspective that we’re trying to identify tasks to see where we can utilize the committee,” trustee William Hornberger, the board’s finance rep, said.
According to Hornberger, there were mixed emotions concerning the disbanding of the committee, which was formed in 2006.
“The members have always given the time and effort to shine lights where, not every member has that expertise to understand the dynamics of a budget,” he said. “They’ve made change happen. But I understand why [we’re disbanding]. I don’t disagree with it.”
Vice President Christine Napolitano was on the board in 2006 when the committee was formed. She “appreciates what they’ve done.”
“I think things have changed,” she said, mentioning audit processes and the tax cap. “The buck, the responsibility...everything lands here. We’re the ones that have to take the heat when everything comes down. But we’re not precluded from saying ‘hey, we need a finance committee.’”
Resident Bryan Bradley, who sat on the committee and once ran for trustee in 2005 and 2006, feels the committee can still be viable, specifically in analyzing and project what district contracts will cost Mineola. He says this was brought up in previous discussions.
“The last few years, we have had a lack of direction,” he said. “You have the committee project what contracts will cost you over the course of the contract. There’s a lot of projections when contracts come up. You can have us see if they are accurate.”
Bradley questioned the structuring the teacher’s contract, specifically increases. The district reached an agreement on a new contract in November 2012. Total year-to-year salaries went up 1 percent, according to District Superintendent Michael Nagler.
“The increase from year to year is half the money until the end,” Nagler said. “We generate a $250,000 surplus in the teachers salary line for two budget cycles. The last budget cycle, we don’t.”
With the budget, Nagler says the surplus comes from not paying the full amount for the first six months of the school year.
“In the budget, we’re calculating a full STEP each year,” Nagler said. “We’re not paying a full STEP for half of the year. That’s why you can’t show a reduction in the budget but you can show the surplus that money wasn’t spent. We showed a surplus last year. We’re going to show one this year.”
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Mineola resident Frank Zuniga and his wife, Charlotte, were heartbroken. It was bad enough that they had to take Mollie, their rescued beagle/terrier mix to the veterinarian on July 4, but it wasn’t until last week that they found out what happened to her until last week.
It started on Independence Day when Mollie, who the Zunigas adopted in February, started vomiting. Their regular vet was closed for the holiday, and the couple found that the Veterinary Referral and Emergency Center of Westbury would see them.
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 00:00
Jaclynn Demas always loved film and television. She dreamed of having a hand in its creative process. and wanted to shape the moving image. The East Williston resident’s obsession paid off after taking home a Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Animated Program last month as producer of PBS KIDS’ Peg + Cat.
“I’ve loved TV and was a movie buff since I was a little kid,” she said. “All I’ve ever wanted to do was make films. I was just upset at how things were made. When I got older, I took a lot of courses in TV and video production.”
After graduating Hicksville High School in 1998, Demas, 34, attended Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., majoring in mass communications, specifying in film and television production.
Thursday, 24 July 2014 00:00
Runners from all over Long Island came to run at the fourth annual Katie Oppo Memorial 5K on Sunday, June 15. The runner first across the finish line was Mineola resident Michael Mariotti, general manager, owner and host of the famous local restaurant Cafe Continental in Manhasset.
The day was glorious as the runners and walkers began their trek through Flower Hill from the starting line at Flower Hill Park. Organizers of this year’s event made the race a USATF Certified 5K race, timed by Long Island Race Timing.
Thursday, 17 July 2014 00:00
Mineola Hurricanes lost a battle of the bats on Sunday, June 29, at St. Joseph’s Field in Kings Park, falling short in a 9-8 ball game against the St. Joseph’s Saints in the first game of a doubleheader.
The top of the first saw the Hurricanes take an early 2-0 lead. The runs came home for the Hurricanes when T.J. McManus scored on an error and Connor Eakin scored on a fielder’s choice. The Saints never surrendered the lead after the first inning, scoring five runs on two errors and an RBI single by Jonathan.