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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

Residents needed to run

The Garden City East Nominating Committee is seeking residents of the East who are interested in being interviewed for the positions of village mayor, village trustee and school board trustee. These positions are subject to election by all village residents. The village mayoral and trustee terms are for two years beginning on April 6, 2015 and the school board trustee term is for three years beginning on July 1, 2015.

Any resident of the East who is interested in being considered for one of these positions must submit a letter of intent and a resume. This submission should note the position being sought; include their name, contact information, a statement explaining their reason for interest in the position, a summary of their professional background and other qualifications, including, although not required, current or prior involvement in village or school board positions or initiatives.

Donald Barrick, Life’s WORC Board Chairman announced that Janet Koch has been hired as the new Executive Director of Life’s WORC, a Garden City-based 501(c) (3) not-for-profit corporation. Koch assumes this leadership responsibility as Peter Smergut retires after 20 years in this position. After a thorough and extensive executive search process, the Life’s WORC Board is confident Koch has the vision and skills consistent with the needs of the organization. She will assume her position as executive director on Monday, Nov. 3.


Sports

High School Jazz Class Added To Dance Conservatory

Dance Conservatory Director Felicia Lovaglio has decided to add a jazz class for students in 9th through 12th grades who are residents of the Incorporated Village of Garden City. This 55-minute class will be held on Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning on Saturday, Nov. 8. The cost of this 20-week class will be $200. Preregistration is necessary by visiting the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave.

Adult Dance Performance Group Now Registering

The recreation and parks department offers an adult dance group that works on jazz and contemporary moves and leads up to a performance in a Dance Company Showcase. Whether you are a beginner dance student or someone who danced as a child and would like to try again, this program will help you achieve your goals. Classes will be held on Saturday mornings beginning Saturday, Nov. 8. Each class is 55 minutes long and the session will run through May. The cost of this program will be $220.  

Reminder

With the fall sports season upon us, the department of recreation and parks would like to remind all residents that pets are not allowed in any neighborhood parks, Community Park, or St. Paul’s fields. Non compliance with this rule will result in the issuance of appearance tickets.

Register For The Online Registration Option

Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks will offer the option of online registration with credit card payment beginning with its winter programs in early December.

In order for a family to use the online registration option, the family will first need to visit the recreation and parks office at 108 Rockaway Ave. to verify residency and their family information and receive their password.  A list of instructions as to how to use the website will be included.


Calendar

 Murder, Madness & Poe

Thursday, October 30

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, November 3

Manhasset Comes To Garden City

Through November 25



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