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Jericho School Board Honors Local Students

Board provides budget updates on curriculum, instruction, technology and transportation categories

The Jericho Board of Education opened its Feb. 8 meeting by honoring over a dozen local students who excelled in academic competitions this year.

Jericho High School students Christopher Yao, Varsha Venkatesh, Aaron Roh, David Roh and Sharon Song were honored as Lexus Eco Challenge Winners. Teacher advisor Serena McCalla and her team reached more than 19,000 people in their efforts to spread awareness about the relationship between air pollution and lung cancer. The students spoke to school and community audiences about limiting fossil fuel use, held fund-raising events and earned $10,000 and donated $1,000 for lung cancer research, and conducted high-level, elaborate research on alternative biodiesels.

Also honored at the meeting were Intel STS competition semifinalists Anirudh Chandrashekar, Jill Dolowich, April Pun, Sagar Rambhia, Anuja Shah and Christina Kim.

Neil Mehta also reached the semifinals in the Intel Competition and was then named one of only 40 national finalists.

“It’s always a pleasure for me to speak at Board of Education meetings about the accomplishments of our students in the research program,” said Frank DiMartino, Jericho’s Curriculum Associate for Science and Technology. “We had eight Siemens semifinalists, which was a record. It was the highest number of any school in New York State. I couldn’t be more proud of the teachers and students. Our Lexus Eco Challenge team also won their prize- $10,000 dollars- in the Land and Water category. We also have seven Intel semifinalists – the most on Long Island. Only two schools in New York State had more than us.”

Later in the meeting, Victor Manuel, Jericho Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs, gave his third budget workshop presentation of the year. The first workshop focused on the administrative portion of the budget. The second focused on Special Education and extracurricular activities and the third workshop, on Feb. 8, focused on the curriculum, instruction, technology and transportation categories.

The Jericho School District owns more than 1,500 computers ranging from brand new to five years old, and a cycle has been established so that district computers will have a five-year life. “We do need to continue [the five-year replacement cycle of computers] so that our equipment is state-of-the-art and up to date,” said Manuel. “They do come with a five-year warranty and that has saved a lot of money as far as repairs and services go. Next year’s replacement includes 330 desktops, laptops, projectors, SMARTBoards and printers, districtwide, and we’re also looking to upgrade the storage area network.”

Manuel later said that “transportation will be a big part of the budget,” and he detailed some of the various ways the district plans to be more efficient with their bussing next year and beyond. “We are anticipating fewer routes for next year,” Manuel added. “That’s a direct result of Lori-Ann Savino’s hard work in looking at the routes districtwide and mapping out what we could do as far as consolidating some of those routes.” Savino is Jericho’s new Director of Transportation, as of this past October. Manuel also indicated the district needs to replace an obsolete 24-year-old bus with a new 44-passenger bus.

Several board members capped off the meeting by urging the community to attend the Budget Review Meeting on March 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Middle School Library for a look at the full budget review of revenues and expenditures. “I encourage everyone to attend the March 1 Budget Review meeting,” said School Board President Joe Lorintz. “We want to hear from the residents and encourage the community’s input.”