Written by Matthew Ern, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 30 May 2013 00:00
Jennifer Kerrane won the contested seat on the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education in last week’s elections. Kerrane won the seat, recently vacated by board Vice President Joseph Bongiorno, with 619 votes, edging out her opponent James Reddan by 72 votes.
“I am very happy to have been elected to the board. Thanks so much to all the community members for having confidence in me and for their continuous support,” Kerrane said. “Once sworn in, I look forward to working close with the board to keep our district running smoothly.”
Uncontested incumbents Ernest Gentile and Joan Romagnoli maintained their seats and newcomer Tara Notine won the seat left open by Alan Cooper. Kerrane added that she’s looking forward to working with newly elected Notine, and hopes that they can encourage more parents and community members to get involved in the district.
The 2013-2014 budget passed 871-517. Assistant Superintendent of Business Michael Frank called this the most difficult budget he’s ever worked on: “Projecting a viable budget for next year and each year thereafter has become and will remain increasingly more difficult with each passing year.”
Superintendent Robert Katulak said it was difficult to create a budget that “adheres to state imposed limitations while also taking into consideration the rising costs of staff pensions and medical costs.” According to Katulak, the goal when crafting this budget was to protect the district’s personnel and programs such as Science Lab for grades K-2, which was saved at the last minute.
The total increase in the budget is 2.99 percent, with a tax levy increase of 3.22 percent.
The largest increases in this year’s budget were in employee benefits, largely due to pension contribution requirements and health care costs. The administrative budget saw an increase of $131,512 over last year’s benefits. The program-budget employee benefits increased by $865,507.
Proposition No. 2, which would allocate $400,000 from the capital reserve fund toward security and safety projects, also passed, with a vote of 851 to 454. The reserve fund is made up of money already set aside by the district, and so the increased security measures will not mean increased taxes for residents, according to officials.
Some of the proposed security measures include panic alarms linked to the local police precinct, intercom and video systems at each school and the administration office, upgrading the public address systems in all buildings to allow for emergency calls from all locations instead of just the main office, and a one-button school-wide lockdown system.