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School Districts: Good News On State Aid

Superintendents weigh in on Governor’s budget

The Levittown and Island Trees schools will be getting more in state aid this year as a result of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed aid package. Under Cuomo’s plan, the Levittown School District would see it’s 2012-13 state aid rise from $43,742,058, to a proposed $44,975,145, a 0.65 percent increase or $1,233,087.

Levittown Superintendent of Schools, Dr. James Grossane explained that Gov. Cuomo’s proposed executive budget is a “preliminary budget” and that the district is currently examining the projection.

“We are still examining the budget numbers, but do believe we are on the right track,” Dr. Grossane stated. “How this proposed budget will affect the Levittown School District is still being analyzed.”

Similarly, under the proposed budget, the Island Trees School District would see its 2012-13 state aid rise from $12,199,190, to a proposed $12,605,768, a 0.70 percent increase or $406,578.

“Admittedly, I have grave concerns that the school district aid would be flat this year; I had heard from some state official that the tax receipts were lower than anticipated and the costs from Superstorm Sandy would negatively impact the state budget,” said Dr. Charles Murphy, superintendent of the Island Trees School District. 

He said despite the 3 percent increase, it was more than the district had anticipated. Murphy told the Levittown Tribune that the school district’s mandated contribution to the pension system was far greater than the increase to state aid. “In fact, last year the district’s obligation was 11.84 percent of total salaries and it has not increased to over 16 percent of total salaries; this is the most significant issue that we’ll need to deal with during our budgetary process.”

Local officials weighed in on the varying degrees of aid losses and gains throughout Long Island. Assemblyman David McDonough believes children continue to be imperiled by an unfair system of state education aid that saps resources out of the classroom and raises taxes on hard-working New Yorkers. 

“The governor’s executive budget includes increased state aid, and it is my sincere hope that in the coming weeks and months we can work together to deliver Long Island’s fair share to local classrooms and communities,” McDonough said.

Senator Kemp Hannon explained how some of the surrounding school districts such as East Meadow, Farmingdale, Plainview, and Massapequa would not benefit from the proposed budget. “When the governor announces a 4 percent hike in school aid, most people feel that will be distributed equitably; in contrast to that, we have some people with absolute losses or who are staying the same.”

Hannon gave the example of Massapequa, whose district went from getting $2 million in high tax aid to getting $610,000 in high tax aid, a $1.4 million loss.

“You’d expect if you talk about a 4 percent increase in school aid, that everybody would be getting a 4 percent increase in school aid and it didn’t work out that way; we have worked to add a thing called high tax aid increase a few years ago,” said Hannon. “They took the money in high tax aid, took a lot of it out, redistributed it, and it’s the redistribution that causes the problem because once some district reads that they’re getting so much money, you can’t take it away, even though in some essence it was other people’s money.” 

The governor’s budget must be ratified by April 1.

News

The founders of the popular Facebook group “Massapequa Moms,” a ‘virtual living room with 6,700 people,’ are leveraging their social media power to create a new discount loyalty card good all over Long Island—including, they hope, in Levittown.

With a hugely popular Facebook community, co-founders Dawn Boyle Kostakis and Stephanie Hartman wanted to “figure out a way that we could help the consumer and the business owner at the same time; keeping commerce going, keeping it all local and having the people get a little bang for their buck,” said Kostakis. They wanted to serve more than just Massapequa, too, and the Long Island Loyalty card was born.

The featured speaker at the Levittown Historical Society’s September meeting was John Owens, editor in chief of Anton Community Newspapers, the publisher of the Levittown Tribune.

Historical society Vice President Bob Koenig opened the meeting, which was held at the Levittown Public Library.

Owens discussed the opioid epidemic that has swept over Long Island. Not only have thousands of residents become addicted to prescription painkillers and heroin, Owens said, but also, over the past two years there have been more than 240 overdose deaths.


Sports

Saturday, Sept. 27

9 a.m. Boys Varsity Soccer Great Neck South at MacArthur

9:15 a.m. JV Football Lawrence at Division

10 a.m. Boys JV Soccer West Hemsptead at Division

10 a.m. Boys Varsity Soccer Division at West Hempstead

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which took place on Sept. 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Calendar

Hispanic Heritage Month

Friday, September 26

Donations Needed

Saturday, September 27

Homecoming

Saturday, September 27



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