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Garden City Public Schools’ Question Of The Week

In order to clarify the complex budget issues facing Garden City Public Schools as it formulates the 2013-2014 budget, the district continues its Question of the Week feature to provide information and address concerns expressed by residents. A complete listing of the questions and answers will be posted on the district’s website: www.gardencity.k12.ny.us.

Question of the Week:

If employee pension costs are driving Garden City Public School’s 2013-2014 budget higher, can the school district contribute less?

No, public school districts in New York State are mandated to belong to and contribute to both the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) and the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS). School districts are required to offer employees the opportunity to belong to one of these public pension systems. The contribution rates are determined by the ERS and TRS Boards based on a five-year rolling average of returns on investment and future needs as computed through actuarial analysis. “We are given the information in a letter distributed to all State school districts,” explained Assistant Superintendent of Business Al Chase. “Garden City Public Schools has no discretion in terms of setting the rates.”

To amend school districts’ mandatory pension contributions would require action by the governor and state legislature. For Garden City Public Schools, the increase in required contributions for the 2013-2014 budget year to the ERS is $568,474. The TRS requires an increase of $1,598,244. Together, these total $2,166,718 and have a budget impact of 2.07 percent and a tax impact of 2.28 percent.

The district cannot borrow to pay these expenses, nor can it arrange extra fees, such as municipalities can, to generate additional revenue streams. This includes being prohibited from implementing “pay to play” fees, i.e., charging parents for students’ participation in sports teams.  Contributions to pension systems are just one of the many mandates required of public school districts. For complete information about the proposed 2013-14 school budget, visit the Budget Information section on the district’s home web page: www.gardencity.k12.ny.us.

News

The Senior Advisory Committee is the Senior group that helps plan trips, parties, and programs for all seniors in cooperation with the recreation and parks department. It consists of: Kathy Auro, Richard Bankowsky, Evelyn Iagrossi, Joe Leto, Ellen Moynahan, and Gloria Weinrich. Please feel free to suggest trips to anyone on the committee.

Preparedness is the best remedy for Ebola

Winthrop University Hospital hosted a presentation on the current Ebola epidemic, at the Garden City Library, on Tuesday, Nov. 11. Sponsored by the village’s Property Owners’ Associations, John F. Collins, president and CEO of Winthrop University Hospital and Dr. Michael Ammazzalorso, Winthrop’s Chief Medical Officer provided an overview of the disease along with an update on Winthrop’s preparedness plan.

Dr. Ammazzalorso began his presentation heeding that despite the waning in the press, the disease is still with us. He provided both historical and current day perspectives regarding the epidemic, advising that Ebola is not a new disease. The medical community has been aware of the disease for at least 40 years. Originating in the Congo, Ebola is a zoonosis a disease which has its reservoir in animals and was known for small sporadic outbreaks associated with people who handled bats and rodents or those who consumed bush meat. The current outbreak originated in West Africa, specifically Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. He noted in Africa that more than 45,000 people have died from the disease.


Sports

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes began the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Learn And Play Paddle Tennis

The recreation and parks department will offer beginner level platform tennis lessons at Community Park’s Platform Courts. This five-week course will offer the basic instruction and will be taught by certified platform instructor Sue Tarzian. Each class will be 1.5 hours in length. The cost of this program is $187.50. Classes begin the week of Nov. 5. The following classes will be offered:

Beginners - Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Advanced Beginners – Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

This program is for beginners only and participants must be Garden City residents. To register, please visit the recreation office at 108 Rockaway Ave. Space is limited so please register early.


Calendar

Sultans of String to play

Friday, November 21

Garden City Chamber Music Society Performance

Sunday, November 23

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 24



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com