Friday, 19 April 2013 00:00
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.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Jill Palmeri, founder of a local charitable organization born out of a tragic event to a loved one in her life, was honored by Garden City Mayor John J. Watras and his trustees at the village board meeting held on Thursday, Dec. 5.
The Andy Foundation was founded by Palmeri in 2004 to honor the memory of her late son Andrew; it’s mission is to help children in need, and to date, the volunteer-driven organization has raised more than $700,000 for kids throughout Long Island through fundraising efforts that include tag sales, football clinics, and bingo parties.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
On Friday, Dec. 6, Federal District Judge Arthur Spatt ruled that the Village of Garden City violated the Fair Housing Act, and ordered the plaintiffs to submit a proposal for how the village might address the issue, to which the village must then respond.
The case stemmed from a 2004 plan by former County Executive Thomas Suozzi to sell developers the 25-acre site of the Department of Social Services office. Suozzi requested the zoning be changed to allow 311 units of multi-family housing. Negative reaction from the public prompted village officials to limit the zoning to 150 town houses, 90 single-family homes, or a combination of the two with each option allowing for up to 36 multifamily units.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00Buckley Country Day School upper school students earned top honors at the end of this fall’s interscholastic soccer season. Garden City’s Katherine Gage, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bob Gage, was named the Most Improved Player of the Girls’ 5th and 6th-grade Red Team.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Mad Science Winter Program
Garden City’s Department of Recreation and Parks is offering a six-week winter program geared to children who are interested in science. Mad Science of Long Island is a company who provides a wonderful and fun learning experience in an after school setting. Different topics such as “Bugs!” and “Walloping Weather” are offered for each week and the participants will cover a range of activities pertaining to the topic. Residents of the Village of Garden City entering grades k-5 are invited to attend.
The cost of the six-week program is $102 and all checks should be made payable directly to “Mad Science of Long Island.”