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From The Desk Of Superintendent Robert Katulak

It’s A Process

How does, what looks like such an easy task, turn into choreographing the most intricate dance in history? Welcome to the New York State education district budget development process. Just when we have it down to a science, we get thrown additional curve balls or our lead dancer breaks a toe. 

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District has worked closely with the community over the past five years to have a budget process that takes community input regarding the quality of educational program offerings and balances the dance moves with fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers.

We have sharpened each dance step by making sure we look for budget efficiencies whenever possible. We have consolidated transportation runs, shared staff development costs with other districts, and applied for grants, which have been awarded whenever we have met the eligibility requirements. We have refinanced our debt to take advantage of the interest’s rates, and have saved over $1.5 million over the life of the debt service. We have created this wonderful dance piece and still have preserved all our programs and staff.

Now, the state throws another unfunded mandate at us. We have been notified that we must build our technology hardware so that we will be able to have an entire grade level, anywhere from 50 to 80 students, sit at the same time to take the new, New York State Assessments, which will be rolled out in the 2014 –15 school year. This gives us two years to get this in place while fiscally fighting for survival of a well-rounded educational program. This needs to stop! We have complied with the 2 percent tax levy. We have trimmed any extras, little to start with, and have created sound budgets that preserve programs, staff and do not hurt our taxpaying constituents. However, now there is no place left to go. We are supporters of the Common Core Learning Standards and the assessments designed to measure students’ mastery of them.

Therefore, someone needs to keep in mind the principle dancers of this piece, our students. By insisting we spend this money on the computer hardware to take this test (a snapshot in time); we will be sacrificing programs and staff to pay for the extra computers. How about the scheduling of these exams? Why not offer each district a week for each grade to administer the tests, so they can utilize the well equipped computer labs, over the course of the week to give the test to the entire grade. We need to put an end to this.

Please send an e-mail or letter to your representatives to get us the financial support for these “extra mandates;” so that we can use our remaining resources to continue our well-deserved existing programs!


News

When it comes to fitness, getting off the couch is half the battle.

 

Plenty of people start each day with the best of intentions, but plans to eat healthy and get to the gym often fall by the wayside with even the most shoddy of excuses. But a New

Hyde Park native is bringing physical fitness to the front door with a mobile, personal traning regimen focusing on individualized one-on-one fitness, group sessions and corporate fitness. 

The Herricks School District recently concluded a series of contract negotiations with the administrators and teachers of the district. Though talks were reportedly difficult, both sides were able to come to an agreement.

 

However, at the Nov. 20 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, Board President James Gounaris revealed that another bout of negotiations taking place with teaching assistants, which have taken an unfortunate turn for the worse.


Sports

The students of Herricks High School were treated to a “Blast from the Past” as the Herricks High School Class of 1964 during this year’s Homecoming celebration.  Approximately 60 members of the class of 1964 arrived at the high school on homecoming day for a tour of their alma mater.  Most of these alumni had not been back to the high school since graduating 50 years ago.

 

All were impressed with the changes that have taken place and with the friendly demeanor of our high school students. One alumnus became teary eyed when he ventured out into the courtyard.

Despite a disappointing playoff loss against the Wantagh Warriors, Sewanhaka Indians Head Coach George Kasimatis, is pleased with his football team’s season. 

“I’m proud of my team,” he said. “But you are never satisfied unless you win the whole thing.”

 

The Indians faced a big challenge this year, moving up into Conference II left them as the new kids on the block, unfamiliar with the teams they would be going against. 

Kasimatis will have a tall task next year replacing graduating seniors, which made up most of his starting lineup. Kasimatis said most of the offensive line, such as Danny Gianotti, Adrian Gonzalez and Louis Segarra III, and the defensive line, such as Justin Alexandre, Peter LaTorre and Peter Militano are seniors, many of which have started multiple years for him. 


Calendar

Songfest - November 26

International Night - November 27

Blood Drive - November 29


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