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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

School board shows off improvements at Stratford

This month’s Garden City Board of Education meeting saw a boost in attendance, and not just from district residents. This was the first board meeting to be held at Stratford School, so teachers and students there stopped by to show off the best it has to offer.

Leading the pack was school principal Eileen Vota, who gave the board a tour of the school before the meeting got underway. Along the way, highlights of the capital improvement project were pointed out, all a result of the 2009 School Investment Bond and Energy Performance Contract.

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.


Sports

Winter Swim Lesson Registration Announced

The Garden City Recreation Department will be conducting children’s swimming lessons for village residents at the Adelphi University swimming pool in Woodruff Hall on Saturday mornings. Your child must be six years of age by the start of the program to participate. This 10-week session will begin Saturday, Dec. 6. Classes are taught by Red Cross-certified instructors. The cost is $80. These classes are open to residents of the Incorporate Village of Garden City.

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.


Calendar

Marvelous Movie Matinée

Monday, December 1

AARP Driver Safety Program

Tuesday, December 2

Here Comes Brother Sun

Friday, December 5



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