Written by Matthew Ern Wednesday, 18 December 2013 00:00
The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District addressed the recent defeat of the Sewanhaka Central High School District bond referendum at its board of education meeting on Monday, Dec. 9.
Board trustee David Del Santo described the situation facing the high school district as “difficult at best” and says a new plan is being developed for the spring. “Voter turnout was abysmal. It may have been bad timing, but voter apathy was a factor,” Del Santo said.
The referendum lost by a margin of 293 votes, with 5,117 total cast. The bond failed in New Hyde Park-Garden City Park, 614-347 and gained the only positive vote in Floral Park, 1,111-954. Major repairs would have been made to New Hyde Park Memorial High
School if the bond passed. These included new, synthetic athletic fields for football, soccer, and lacrosse; roof and window repairs, and parking lot repaving. Planned security and technology upgrades will also go unfunded now, according to district officials.
Sewanhaka’s superintendent, Dr. Ralph P. Ferrie. released a statement on the district’s website addressing the vote and also thanking those that came out in support of the referendum. “The Sewanhaka Central High School District has exceptional students who deserve upgraded, repaired, and renovated facilities,” he said.
The tax cap for the 2014-15 school year is set at below 2 percent in Sewanhaka, posing a challenge for the district going forward. But Ferrie says, “The district remains committed to extending every effort to ensure that its students are afforded the opportunity to continue to be provided with a diversified educational experience.”
New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Superintendent Robert Katulak said the district recently received a dissemination grant, which has allowed for staff development in multiple topics. They include balanced literacy, best practices in an inclusion classroom, technology integration, reading styles strategies, differentiation of instruction, and utilizing authors writing as model and for writing fundamentals.
Katulak also announced that the district had been approved for a $150,000 state grant for the purposes of fixing New Hyde Park Road School’s fields. It took three years to get finalized, but the district has received its first payment of $66,000.
Katulak reminded parents of the upcoming winter concerts: Tuesday, Dec. 17 at Garden City Park School, and Wednesday, Dec. 18 at Hillside Grade School.
The board accepted a donation from New Hyde Park Road School’s Elementary School fundraiser and several grants from the PTA. The district will be entering some countywide cooperative transportation bids for dates in November and December.
Kim Levy, director of special education services, gave a brief report on the state of the department in the form of an update to its Three-Year Plan. Levy stressed the “importance of counseling the students” through the transition to high school in seventh grade as well as increased implementation of iPads and other technology in the classrooms.