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Island Trees Starts Budget Meetings

Island Trees School District started the budget process on Wednesday, February 27 at the first of a series of budget meetings. Each school principal had the opportunity to present their budgets, all down from previous years, while the board had a chance to ask questions and make cuts. 

However, a new tech program started at the high school level last year, as well as some questionable budget allotments, put Nick Grande, high school principal, in the hot seat. 

Last year, the high school began offering a new tech course, and Grande explained that it did not take the place of another course; the school just had less children in other sections. Patricia Mahon, school board president, said that she – and the rest of the board – were not made aware of the new program and was not happy about it. 

“We are doing budget cuts,” she said. “If we are creating a new subject area, I know I would like to know about it, as would the rest of the board.”

In addition, agenda pads for high school freshman got cut as well as money for departmental meetings. “If they want to supply cookies and snacks for their departmental meetings, tell them to reach into their pockets,” Mahon said. 

The budgets for the other schools went a little more smoothly with very little suggestions of cuts. “If we are operating within a 2 percent tax cap as a board, we are hoping that everyone is keeping their costs flat or a little below last year,” said Mahon. 

However, Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy explained that the pension situation is a balloon and he is hopeful that the Governor will find a way to handle it. “With 2016 coming up fast, I am sure that by the end, they will find some relief with the pension situation,” he said, inferring that the Governor will want to run for President of the United States and will want to be able to have something to show the rest of the country. 

The district also discussed how planning for last year ended up saving the district additional headaches and costs in the end, with BOCES having to return money to the district as well as the County Guaranty not going through. “Because we budgeted for the County Guaranty, we now have a little cushion,” Murphy said. 

Before the meeting adjourned, however, a concerned parent brought a circulating rumor to the board about a school building being sold. “We’re selling a building, that’s the rumor that is going around. Is that true? Are we really selling a building?,” she asked. 

“Anything is a possibility,” replied Murphy, who explained that BOCES will be returning a building to them at the end of this year and that the district will need to look for other sources of income for that building. 

“But, what if it is partitioned and rented for different things. I know in business that you never want to lose property, so doesn’t it make sense to keep the building?,” she replied. 

Murphy cited that enrollment has been steadily decreasing during the past 17 years and there is really no reason to keep a building that will most likely continue to remain vacant. “Like I said,” he explained, “Anything is a possibility.” 


News

After announcing his resignation from the Levittown School District last January, Superintendent Dr. James Grossane has accepted a new job as Superintendent of the Smithtown Central School District. 

 

“I look forward to the new challenges awaiting me in the Smithtown Central School District,” Grossane said. “I wish the Levittown Public Schools and its students, parents and staff all the best as they continue to move forward to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Five year projection shows tough road ahead

The Levittown Board of Education unanimously adopted a $198.7 million spending plan for the 2014-2015 school year, which comes with a proposed tax levy increase of 1.62 percent. This represents a $2.1 million increase from last year, for a proposed levy of $133.2 million.   

 

The Levittown school district will receive $49,163,299 in state aid for the 2014-2015 school year, which increased by $690,049 from last year’s budget. The other revenues also show an increase of $684,250 from last year. 

 

In the past seven years, the district received its largest percentage of state aid in 2008-2009 with 30 percent. According to Assistant Superintendent Bill Pastore, state aid has decreased since then, leveling off for the past few years and coming in at slightly below 25 percent for 2014-15.


Sports

The Farmingdale State College baseball team earned an 8-2 victory over the College of Staten Island in a recent non-conference home game.

 

In the bottom of the second, left fielder Richard Sullivan of Farmingdale broke broke the scoreless tie on a two out RBI single. Senior third baseman Sal Sanquini of Levittown would go on to hit an RBI single through the left side to increase the lead 2-0. Sanquini was 2-for-4 at the plate with a game-high of 3 RBIs.

The Island Trees varsity softball team had an amazing 8-3 win in extra innings on April 2nd against a previously unbeaten Clarke team to improve their league record to 2-0.  Ashley Melendez opened up the scoring with a solo homerun to lead off the 4th inning. 

 

Although the team relinquished the lead in the 4th and 5thinnings, they did not let the negative turn of events get the best of them.   Down one with three outs left, Sam Scharff led off the top of the 7th with an amazing bunt for a hit.  Christie Ciaramitaro and Kelly Cembrale both reached on errors to keep the inning and team’s hopes alive.  Morgan Petry roped an RBI single up the middle to score courtesy runner, Kim Ahrens with the tying run.   


Calendar

Bellmore FD Fundraiser - April 25

Earth Day Cleanup - April 26

Bowling For Scholars - April 26


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