Written by Chris Boyle Saturday, 12 April 2014 00:00
At the April 3 meeting of the Herricks Board of Education, it was revealed that New York State’s recently passed budget has allotted a larger-than-anticipated amount of aid for schools; this has resulted in an additional $360,000 for the district to use for its 2014-2015 budget.
According to Board of Education President James Gounaris, the 2014-2015 Herricks budget was already adopted, on March 20; after the surprise boost in state aid, the budget was adjusted and re-adopted at the April 3 meeting, with the additional funds allocated toward restoring some budgetary cuts made to the district in recent years.
“We’re going to use the additional money that we have to hire more staff,” he said. “The biggest concern to those of us on the school board has been trying to find a way to reduce our class sizes. We’re down over 100 positions in the past three years.”
The Herricks 2014-2015 budget, adjusted for the additional $360,000 in funding from New York State, now comes in at $107,594,911; the Board of Trustees unanimously voted at the meeting to re-adopt the budget to reflect this new amount. However, these new numbers will not affect taxes in the Herricks district, according to Assistant Superintendent for Business Helen Costigan.
“We’re putting the additional funds into our revenue file, so this will not affect the tax levy at all,” she said. “This extra money will bring our budget up to a 2.84 percent increase, but out levy remains at 1.84 percent. That doesn’t change.”
Trustee Brian Hassan gave a final update on the infamous InBloom, which had drawn the intense ire of parents and schools across the state when it emerged that the company would be sharing sensitive data about New York students with various third-party companies. After vigorous lobbying from educators and parents, the state put an end to the unpopular practice.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. John Bierwirth describing the program as “so poorly handled,” noted it was initially slated to be nationwide.
“New York was the only one left in InBloom, which was originally supposed to go across all 50 states,” he said. “However, you can’t have a national database with no states being a part of it, so it appears to be really dead, which is great.” The plan is effectively dead in the water after New York’s withdrawal, he said.
“InBloom is no longer an issue for us as far as data-sharing with third-party vendors,” Hassan said. “This was the result of a lot of hard work by people, not just in Herricks, but across the state, and it’s nice to see that our voices have finally been heard.”