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Lowest Budget Increase In 15 Years

Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Christopher Van Cott gave the final budget presentation last Tuesday at the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Board of Education meeting. The final budget number of $54,578,478 was $1,074,367 more than the 2013-14 budget of $53,504,111. It is an increase of 2.01 percent, which is the lowest expenditure budget increase in at least 15 years.

The funding sources that make up the proposed budget are property taxes and the STAR program, State Aid, local revenue and the appropriated fund balance.

“The 2014-15 budget maintains all programs and services to students and $1 million will be returned to taxpayers to assist with the 2014-15 levy,” said Van Cott. “The budget complies with Oyster Bay-East Norwich tax levy limit as mandated by New York State.”

There will be continued use of the capital reserve to fund needed capital improvement projects and equipment without levying additional taxes. Some of the improvement projects in the district’s five year plan include tennis court reconstruction at the high school at a cost of $650,000, foam roof repairs and electrical panel installation at the high school at a total cost of $265,000 and ceiling replacement and exterior masonry work at the James Vernon school at a total cost of $260,000. The total cost estimate for the five year plan is $1,515,000.

Many projects have been funded in recent years through continued use of the capital reserve to fund needed capital improvement projects.

Members of the PTA Council, including OBEN Elementary Co-President, Jennifer Scamell, Alexandria Ross and PTSA member, Margaret Howes, said they were all in favor of the proposed 2014-15 budget.

If the budget does not pass and the district is forced to go on a contingency budget, an additional one million dollars would have to be cut, which may include reductions in co-curricular programs, athletic programs, needed equipment and certified and non-certified staff.  Additionally, by state mandate all community and non-community groups would have to be charged for the use of the facilities under a contingency budget.

All the budget information can be found on the school website at www.obenschools.org.

The budget vote will take place on May 20 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Oyster Bay High School.

News

The Raise The Roof Concert, held at Christ Church on Nov. 9, was an intergenerational event to benefit the Life Enrichment Center of Oyster Bay’s seniors.

Board member Suzanne Paolucci explained the center’s wish to get iPods for the seniors as a source of musical therapy. She brought the idea to the center from a talk by social worker Dan Cohen, the founder of Music & Memory. He has produced a film, Alive Inside, that tells the story of music as being restorative. Music is like therapy for the elderly, in particular for those with dementia, as it has been shown to awaken memories of happier times in life, when energy and enthusiasm were boundless.

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.


Sports

On the weekend of Nov. 8, the Oyster Bay High School Boys and Girls Cross Country teams traveled to the State University of New York at Canton just a few miles from the Canadian border to compete in the New York State Cross Country Championships.

Alex Tosi became the first Bayman since Joe Jazwinski and Justin Nakrin (2008) to become All-State, placing 16th with a time of 16:53. Most runners ran about 20 seconds slower than their Bethpage times because of the muddy conditions on the course. Tosi’s time was basically equivalent to his best Bethpage time, as he powered through the toughest parts of the race. He led the Baymen to a seventh place finish in the Class C race, an improvement from their 11th place finish last year, which ties the highest place at the New York State Championships of a Baymen team since 2009.

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.


Calendar

Annual Turkey Trot

Thursday, Nov. 27

Turkey Detox Workshop

Friday, Nov. 28

East Norwich Holiday

Sunday, Nov. 30



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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