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New Hyde Park Sets January Date for Public Budget Review

Superintendent Katalak:
‘Faced with A Perfect Storm’

At the beginning of the last New Hyde Park/Garden City Park School Board meeting Superintendent Robert Katulak said that the administration has begun its budget-building for next year.

He said, “We begin with what is called zero-based budgeting where we start with no increases to budget lines and every request needs to be stated and explained.  This year more than ever, we are faced with what we are calling “a perfect storm.”

Therefore, on Jan. 3, 2011 the New Hyde Park Board of Education will hold a public budget workshop for community input at 8 p.m. at the Garden City Park School.

Superintendent Katulak said, “We are asking all individuals or groups to email your input to the administrative team or to the board of education answering three basic questions:

• What is it in terms of programs and student services which you feel     you can’t sacrifice in order to give our students a well-rounded     education?

• What services or programs can we eliminate without hurting  students?

•  What programs or skills are we currently missing to prepare our students for the 21st Century workplace?”

Katulak also said that as answers regarding the budget are received they will be posted on a section of the district website that deals with the budget in order to keep everyone informed who could not attend the meetings.

He added, “We need everyone’s recommendations to help guide the board in the creation of next year’s budget during such a difficult economic climate.”

Special Education Programs and Services

Superintendent Katulak then turned the meeting over to special guest speaker Dr. Deborah King, who is chairperson of the Committee on Special Education in the district, who outlined in detail the many programs and services available in the district to special education students including:

Psychological and Social Work

The school district provides psychological services based on referral of staff with parental permission.  The school psychologist, using a variety of tests, conducts assessments of children who are experiencing difficulties in school. Evaluations, which are reviewed with parents, may guide parents and teachers in developing strategies to assist students or may indicate need for referral to outside agencies or the district’s special education programs. Psychologists and the school social worker also assist families and students by offering consultations, visiting homes, providing group and individual counseling and making referrals to outside agencies.

Special Education

The New Hyde Park/Garden City Park School District maintains a full continuum of special education service in keeping with the concept of least restrictive environment.  The district provides consultant teacher programs. Resource room programs, special class settings and an ICS (Intensive Classroom Support) program in most school buildings. Children receive special educations services through the Committee on Special Education, which includes teachers, school psychologists and a parent of a child with a disability. Parents are included in all phases of the review including evaluation, placement and development of educational goals. Parents who believe their child may be experiencing learning problems should immediately discuss their concerns with the classroom teacher and school principal.

Preschool Special Education

Any resident who has an infant or child who is disabled or whom they suspect is disabled, should contact Dr. King, the chairperson of the Committee on Preschool and School-Age Special Education at 362-5909 ext. No. 249.  It is important that the school district become aware of the needs in the community so that the district can plan appropriate programs.

Parent Right to Obtain Testing

Any parent who suspects that his or her child (3 years to 12 years) may have a learning, behavioral or medical problem which could be significantly impacting their ability to perform in school, has a right to a free evaluation through the Committee on Special Education (CPSE).  All requests must be put in writing to the principal of the child’s school or to the chairperson of the CSE and CPSE who is Dr. King.  Parents of children from birth to 3 years old may obtain testing through the Nassau County Early Intervention at 277-8661.

Special Support Services

Each school offers a program of remedial services for children who need special assistance in reading and/or mathematics.  Admission to the program is based on results of the New York State Reading and Mathematics Tests and reading and mathematics portions of the Terra/Nova tests. The program supplements regular instructions for those with special needs.


The school district speech teachers screen students and assist children in grades K-6 with special needs individually or in small groups, following parental consultation and approval.

Other School Board Business

The board approved a school emergency drill to be held on Nov. 24.

The calendar for the budget meetings for 2011 and 2012 was approved.

The board also approved PTA fundraiser, disposal of old and obsolete equipment, additional payments to the staff, appointment of clinic teacher, appointment of teacher mentor, appointment of E-Rate authorization with BOCES.

Also approved were donations to Hillside Grade School from Target entitled “Taking Charge of Education.”  Further, the board approved the Elks National Dictionary Project for the 3 third-graders.

Membership in the New York State School Boards Association was also approved as well as the Custodial Stipulation of Agreement and the Nurses Agreement.

How Will District Handle Paying for the County Guaranty?

 Trustee Patricia Rudd asked Assistant Superintendent for Business Michael Frank how will the district handle paying the County Guaranty that has been shifted to the school districts in the recently passed Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s budget.

Frank said that it will definitely have an impact on the school budget and they are planning now how they will handle having to pay all those monies out of the school budget.

Rudd wanted to know if it would have an impact on the Project to Save Money for the repair of buildings.

Frank said it definitely would have an impact, but since the program will not kick-in for a few years, the district has time to decide what it is going to do to meet the obligation.

Parent at Notre Dame Speaks About Equality

A parent from Notre Dame came to the microphone and wanted to know why Notre Dame Students were not included in an accelerated Math Enrichment Program.  He said the program was run at the school; and asked why were Notre Dame students excluded from the program when they were included in the accelerated Odyssey program.

The Illustrated spoke to Superintendent Robert Katulak who explained that the program is a program setup by specific teachers and is not a gifted program but rather  a differentiated program within the general school system.  The math program that is available to all the students in the district is the Odyssey program and that is specifically geared for gifted students.

The meeting ended and the next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 13 at 8 p.m. at the Manor Oaks School, 1950 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park.