The last board of education meeting I attended also happened to be the initial recommendations for the proposed budget for the 2014-15 year. Amid the myriad figures and statistics bandied about, perhaps the most disturbing had to do with something called the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA). According to the New York State School Boards Association, “Since the 2009-2010 school year, the state has deducted from each school district’s state aid allocation an amount now known as the Gap Elimination Adjustment (GEA) to help the state fill its revenue shortfall.” Essentially, the GEA takes money that should be going to school districts and puts it in the state’s own budget. During the three years the GEA has been operating, Garden City has seen its state aid reduced by a grand total of $3,141,513. It’s a disturbingly high number, pointing at the continued dilemma Long Island communities face—that of more tax money going up to Albany than what comes back downstate in the form of state aid. Unless this formula is changed, the words "affordable living" and "Long Island" will become a quintessential oxymoron.
— Dave Gil de Rubio
Village Election—Tuesday, March 18
The annual village election will be held on Tuesday, March 18, from noon until 9 p.m. at Village Hall, 351 Stewart Ave. Village residents will be voting for the following candidates:
Nicholas P. Episcopia - Trustee—2-year term
Brian C. Daughney - Trustee—2-year term
Robert A. Bolebruch - Trustee—2-year term
Theresa A. Trouvé - Trustee—2-year term
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives are all the rage in American education nowadays given the fact that there are 29 and 22 industrialized nations where high school students performed better than U.S. students in math and science respectively in 2012, according to the public-private partnership National Math + Science Initiative. Luckily, communities like Garden City have embraced the challenge particularly in the field of robotics competitions. At the 10th annual Long Island Qualifying Tournament that was held at Central Islip High School on Saturday. Feb. 1, several Garden City First Lego League (FLL) teams, including the Crazy Creators and Thunder Chickens, made quite an impression. With more than 100 teams competing for 42 spots at next month’s Long Island Championship, five of those spots were captured by Garden City teams. It’s clearly apparent that at least in this small corner of the world, the United States will be holding its own on the global STEM stage in the future.
— Dave Gil de Rubio
New York State Fiscal Stress Test Results
New York State Comptroller DiNapoli recently released the results of his latest fiscal stress monitoring assessments. The results categorized villages into four categories, “significant stress”, “moderate stress”, “susceptible to stress” and no designation. The assessments were made as of May 31, 2013 using a series of financial ratio calculations. Garden City scored 50 percent on the rating scale; a rating that put us in the “susceptible to stress” category. Had we scored 45 percent or below, we would not have received any stress designation.
Mention the term Common Core and not surprisingly, you’ll generally wind up with a visceral reaction. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, the Garden City Board of Education opened a work session up to the public with Common Core being the topic discussed. Dr. Teresa Prendergast, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, wound up moderating and delivering a thoroughly comprehensive Common Core presentation with handouts and slide, during which time she dispelled myths and rumors about this highly controversial state-mandated program. One of the primary points she made was the fact that much of what Common Core is teaching has been getting covered by the district’s current curriculum. By all accounts, administrators and teachers are doing a yeoman’s job in trying to work with state mandates and making sure that Garden City’s students are comprehending the material and putting their best foot forward.
Snow Storms—Help Us Help You
With another snow storm behind us, I would like to take this opportunity to thank village residents and merchants for their cooperation by shoveling walks within 24 hours following the snow fall. Looking ahead, the following suggestions are offered in an effort to reduce inconvenience to residents and to assist the village in serving your needs.
• If possible, wait until the village plows the street to clear the snow from your driveway entrance. If you can’t wait, shovel to the right onto your curbside, since most snow plows push to the right. Do not shovel snow back into the cleared street. This will reduce the accumulation of snow which will be pushed back into your driveway. This is a chronic problem. Plow operators have been reminded to reduce the speed of their vehicles in order to lessen the amount of snow that is pushed back into driveways. Please be aware that the Department of Public Works cannot shovel out driveway entrances nor can it plow any private property.
Recently, the Garden City Community Church and Freeport’s First Presbyterian Church joined forces to stage a pair of Will Sing for Food concerts whose proceeds were used to help fund the Long Island Council of Churches’ food pantries. The final take for both shows was close to $5,600, a noble yet small amount when you consider that according to Share Our Strength, a national organization working to end childhood hunger in America, 1 out of 5, or 16 million children, struggle with hunger. It’s a fact that’s easy to lose sight of now that Thanksgiving and the holidays are fading in our collective rear view mirror. If there is a silver lining to be cognizant of it is the fact that with not only these recent shows held by local clergy, but with many food drives, more and more younger people are getting involved in trying to help the less fortunate. It’s this kind of activism from the younger set that fuels the hope that those aforementioned numbers someday start to take on a downward trend.
—Dave Gil de Rubio
Yield For Pedestrian In Crosswalk
Residents are again reminded of the “Yield for Pedestrian in Crosswalk” signs at the three mid-block crosswalks on Seventh Street between Franklin and Hilton Avenues.
State vehicle and traffic law states that motorists must yield to pedestrians who are crossing a roadway within the striped crosswalks. A motorist seeing a pedestrian entering the crosswalk must stop and permit the pedestrian to cross the street. Cars approaching the stopped vehicle from the rear are not permitted to pass.
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