Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 01 February 2013 00:00
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed school aid package could result in increases in state aid for the Westbury and Carle Place school districts, but possibly less for Hicksville and East Meadow, Westbury Schools could see an increase of 7.75 percent, or $2.3 million. The district received $30.3 million in state aid this year.
But the governor’s state aid package has a long way to go. It must be approved by the state legislature, which will be considering the school aid package in the coming months.
Carle Place Schools will receive $52,833 in additional aid next year if Cuomo’s plan goes through.
“It’s pretty much what we were expecting, but I’m not going to complain about the thinking that high-needs school districts should get a little bit more,” said Carle Place Superintendent David Flatley, who noted that before the recession, the district received approximately $800,000 more per year.
Flatley said he called local elected officials in support of the proposal, which includes a new suggestion to help stabilize teacher’s pension contribution rates.
“The pension contribution rate for this year – without the governor’s proposal – is going to be well in excess of a million dollars. That’s just the increase this year and that swallows up a greater than 2 percent increase in our budget all by itself, so that’s a gigantic hit for [the district] and the people in the community.
“What he [Governor Cuomo] is recommending is that we pick a contribution rate of 12 percent of our payroll and pay that as a fixed cost for the next 25 years,” Flatley said, noting that pension contributions currently vary year-to-year.
The Carle Place superintendent explained that the expected pension contribution increase for the school’s upcoming budget, not considering Cuomo’s potential proposal, will be “about four and a half percentage points – that’s the big gorilla in the budget.”
Flatley added, “The advantage that creates for school districts is that retirement costs become a fixed number in your budget. When you’re under a tax cap situation, having fixed costs at or near zero percent increases every year is a very smart way to do budgeting. “
Many nearby school districts may receive less money in the upcoming year, including Hicksville and East Meadow, which might receive a 1.79 and .69 percent decrease in state aid next year, respectively.
“I’m very concerned by how the governor is removing some high tax aid from our schools. The school districts in Nassau County were particularly negatively affected by the governor’s proposal, particularly Farmingdale, East Meadow and Massapequa. The high tax is greatly concerning us right now,” Assemblyman Tom McKevitt said.
Senator Jack Martins avoided classifying schools based on financial assistance.
“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.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
Once a week, Robert Blume goes to Virpa Convenience on Carman Ave. to buy breakfast and lottery tickets. When he bought his Mega Millions and Powerball tickets on Sunday, Oct. 20, it was just like any other day. But when he went in to Virpa to check his tickets later that week, life changed forever.
He won $7 with his Mega Millions ticket, and then ran his Powerball ticket through the ticket check. Instead of the usual reading of “Sorry You Are Not A Winner,” he saw a message that said ‘Big Winner. See Retailer.’
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
“Art is beautiful. It's all around us and makes you see the world in a different way. Anyone can learn to paint, it just takes time, but when you do, you never look at clouds the same way or water the same way or even at the beach the same way.” These are the words of Westbury’s own artist and teacher Laura Meshover. Her captivating oil paintings exhibit the very essence of photo realism.
“I always knew I wanted to be an artist even from way back at a young age,” explained Meshover. “I used to take painting lessons in my neighbor’s basement when I was a little girl. You can’t do that kind of stuff anymore,” she said with a laugh.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The wrestling team at Westbury High School looks forward to a fresh start this season. Last year, they struggled to stay atop the Nassau Conference, but this time, the team has a lot of valuable pieces that are crucial for them to flip the script and potentially climb to the top of the standings.
One of the shining stars in the school’s team this year is the dominating Raeco Jackson. For the past two seasons, Jackson has had an extraordinary winning record in the 113 and 120 weight classes. “Last year, my record was 28-5 and the year before that it was 30-5,” he said. With a total record of 58 wins and 10 losses, he has won 85 percent of his matches. His impressive feat helped Jackson receive all-county honors last season.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The Carle Place boys’ varsity soccer team made school history on Nov. 17, when they captured the NYS Class B championship title. It ended a long journey during which the team never lost a game. Carle Place was the only team in the state to go undefeated — and that includes all classifications. The final statistics were an impressive 18 wins, 0 losses, and 1 tie; 56 goals for, 6 against, and 14 shutouts.