Written by Pat Grace Friday, 19 March 2010 00:00
The Building Conditions Survey was the first item on the agenda at the school board meeting held at Munsey Park Elementary School on March 11. The community had approved a bond referendum and over the past three years needed repairs in the amount of about $16 million have been made to the two elementary schools and the secondary school complex. In addition to the referendum the repairs were funded by a capital reserve fund of about $5 million that has now been depleted, and money for capital projects.
What was termed a “preliminary draft” for a district wide 5-year Capital Improvement Plan was distributed, to “get the conversation going,” said the administration. John Grillo, district architect, and Armand Markarian, director for facilities, were present for the discussion.
Superintendent Charlie Cardillo explained that a lawsuit filed by a student, pending since 1989, had been settled. The district wants to ask the community in May for authorization to establish a capital reserve fund over the next 10 years not to exceed $10 million. It would be funded from different sources one being the insurance reserve fund in the amount of about $2.1 million that was earmarked for the 1989 lawsuit should it exceed the district’s insurance coverage of about $11 million. Those monies from that insurance reserve find can only be used for a targeted reserve fund, Cardillo noted, and the district would like to use it to provide the initial funding for the proposed Capital Reserve Fund.
Trustee Pat Aitken commented the district is now beyond “bricks falling down” and is looking to establish a manageable 5-year plan. She noted that placing $5 million in a capital reserve fund was voted for in 2006 and with the completion of the locker room renovation those monies have been just about depleted. The preliminary draft made available that evening, she noted, was a fluid document, repair priorities might change, but it illustrated the need to fund a capital reserve fund.
During the Q and A it was asked if 3-4 percent is set aside each year in the budget for needed repairs. Rosemary Johnson, assistant superintendent for business, answered that previously there was $150,000 in the budget for repairs; that number is now $400,000.
That evening an inter-municipal agreement, between the Town of North Hempstead and the school district, was approved in order to share the use of the boat ramp that was constructed and donated to the town by the Friends of Manhasset Crew, Inc. The town agreed to grant the district a license to use the dock and facilities at no charge to the district. The dock is located at North Hempstead Beach Park.
Discussion then focused on the school budget, to be finalized and adopted on April 8 then presented to the community for a vote on May 18. Also on May 18 two trustee positions are open and interested persons must file petitions to run by April 19 by 5 p.m.
The proposed budget for 2010-11 is $81,094,279. At this point that represents a 3.54 percent increase over last year and represents an increase of $2,869,431. That in turn results in a 1.84 percent property tax levy increase of $1,345,462. According to the district, if adopted, “the proposed budget would fund all of the programs, facilities and services currently available.”