Ask pretty much anyone in the Farmingdale community about the biggest eyesore in the area, and most likely, they will reply with a single, solitary word: Waldbaums.
The spot those residents would be referring to, of course, is the former Waldbaums Shopping center located on Main Street. With its boarded-up windows and gutted storefronts, the strip mall—currently without an owner and completely vacant for some time, except for a Chinese take-out restaurant that is currently squatting—has many locals crying foul over its dilapidated appearance. However, the real issue lies, not in what people can see, but what they cannot.
Members of the Farmingdale School District Board of Education are currently mulling a proposed $156.4 million spending plan for the 2014-2015 school year, which would increase spending by $3.1 million—or 2.03 percent—from last year, when voters approved a $153.3 million budget.
“The Farmingdale School District carefully crafted a comprehensive budget in order to maintain the high-level resources that our students need to succeed in and out of the classroom,” said Farmingdale’s Assistant Superintendent of Business Paul Defendini.
During the first of an ongoing series of budget workshops, on March 12, the board highlighted different aspects of the 2014-2015 budget including the gap elimination adjustment, state aid, teacher and state retirement costs, program changes and reductions, and the 2 percent tax levy cap.
Two local elected officials from opposite ends of the political spectrum have announced their candidacy for a state Senate seat vacant since late December.
With Democrats and Republicans vying for a majority in the Senate, both parties announced their picks for the 8th district seat within days of each other; the Nassau County Republican Party tapped Massapequa Legislator Michael Venditto and the Democratic
Committee put their hopes behind Merrick Legislator Dave Denenberg.
Both contenders announced their candidacy in their districts’ respective American Legion halls. At his rally, Denenberg said he will fight for working families in Nassau and Suffolk struggling to make ends meet.
As part of our ongoing election coverage, The Farmingdale Observer will feature profiles of all three candidates vying for the position of Village Trustee in the 2014 local elections on March 18.
The gym erupted with joy as the Farmingdale Dalers captured the Nassau County AA title for the first time since 1980. Players, parents, students and coaches swarmed the floor after the final buzzer, hugging each other and smiling ear to ear. The players themselves looked alternately elated, stunned and drained.
Led by a dominating defense, the team held on through a tight game to beat Uniondale 38-35, holding their opponents to under 40 points for the third straight playoff game.
The Farmingdale Board of Education unanimously voted to inact a school tax exemption for local military veterans at its March 5 public board meeting, a move which elicited a round of applause from the audience.
School Board Trustee Kathy Lively read aloud the details of the proposal before the Board held its vote, noting that the new law, as laid out by New York State, allows school districts the option of opting in or out of the veteran tax exemptions; in addition, each district, if it chooses to participate, is given latitude in setting the amount of the exemption.
“We elect to participate in the exemptions of real property tax for veterans,” she said. “And we further resolve that the district will adopt the statutory basic maximums for real property tax.”
In preparation for budget season, the Village of Farmingdale Board of Trustees recently adopted legislation that will allow the village to enact an override of the state’s 2 percent tax levy cap. A procedural requirement, the local law enables the village to decide—by a two-third board majority vote—whether it will exceed the cap, without the threat of a penalty from the state.
“Even though the village board has no intention of going over the 2 percent cap,” said Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand, “we prepare ourselves by passing a law saying we can.”
It may have been a polar vortex outside, but inside Farmingdale’s Village hall things were heating up with the first annual Winter wonderland. Close to 800 people filled the village hall over two hours on a frigid Wednesday evening to eat, laugh, and mingle with Main
Street’s finest, the business owners. While K 98.3 played music outside, inside the wonderful aromas of a variety of hot food from the local restaurants filled the air. There were rice balls, and chicken picatta, pastas and meat balls supplied by Cascarino’s and Palmer’s
Grill, along with Shepard’s pie, hot wings from Croxley’s Ale House. The guacamole from Caracara Mexican Grill was so fresh and delicious it would make a Texan jealous. There were 37 business represented all giving away free samples, food, and discounts to a packed crowd ranging in age from infants to seniors.
On Feb. 27, parents in the Farmingdale, East Meadow, Massapequa and Levittown school districts came together for an informal panel discussion on the New York State Education Department and the implementation of the state Common Core Learning Standards.
Panelists included New York State Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt, Jeanette Deutermann of the Long Island Opt Out Facebook page, and former public school teacher David Greene, who came to the Farmingdale Public Library to talk with local parents about key concerns and questions with the curriculum.
An outspoken parent and founder of the Long Island Opt Out movement, Deutermann delved into some of the factors behind what led to the state’s adoption of the Common Core, and how the state education department cites High School graduation rates as its reasoning behind the curriculum.
With the quest to craft the Farmingdale Schools’ 2014-2015 spending plan underway, the Board of Education met on Feb. 26 to discuss the financial well-being of the District; a topic that the support—or lack thereof—from New York State will have a very direct impact upon.
Superintendent of Schools John Lorentz discussed how New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year is slated to include additional financial support for school districts; however, Lorentz said the increase in aid is still far short of what Farmingdale needs to ensure its standards of learning are kept intact going forward.
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