Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 01 February 2013 00:00
The Mineola School District saw a .58 percent increase, or $26,253 from 2012-13, in Gov. Cuomo’s preliminary state aid figures released last week. The state awarded Mineola $4,492,542 last year.
Mineola saw “a slight” increase in building aid, according to Finance Superintendent Jack Waters, but a reduction in high tax aid. The district received $290,733 last year, but just $87,219 next year.
Negotiations are still ongoing, according to district reps. But Waters isn’t expecting much to change.
“I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to go out with a budget calculation including a state aide number that’s any higher that they’re telling me we’re going to get,” he said.
Mineola revealed that pension cost increases for next year are about $1.5 million. Under state law, Mineola could put out a 3.05 percent tax increase for the next year, with half of the estimated pension spikes not included, leveling out piercing the cap, a move the district does not want to make.
Mandated increases from the state do not give Mineola wiggle room, but the district is confidant that it can budget accordingly, despite getting a flat aid rate year-to-year.
“We have to budget accordingly based on what we’re getting and what our calculation right now is on the levy cap,” Waters stated.
Mineola’s budget cannot exceed the calculations of state aid, other revenue (school rentals, etc.) and the tax levy.
Pension cost estimations, Waters said, could be anywhere from 15.5 to 16.5 percent or $5.9 million. Employee cost rates for this year is 11.84 percent, with an estimated increase of 4.16 percent next year. The 2012-13 Teacher Retirement System payroll totals $37 million.
The first 2 percent of the employee cost rate is included in the levy cap calculation, according to Waters. Any increase over the 2 percent is exempt from the levy cap, which means if the district chooses, it can exceed the cap.
“The governor’s budget is a proposal and, as we negotiate a final budget for New York State, I will be working with my colleagues toward securing more state aid for Long Island school districts,” Senator Jack Martins said. “In this economy, every school district is a high needs district when it comes to funding.”
The governor’s budget must be ratified by April 1.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
Even rain couldn’t put a damper on children’s faces as they marveled at the Mineola tree across from Village Hall on Friday, Dec. 6 during the annual Christmas tree lighting. With the Chaminade High School Jazz Band rocking the community center across the street, residents and kiddies waited with bated breath and excitement for the tree to come alive, along with a visit from old St. Nick.
As the area between the Mineola Fire Department and Piccola Bussola began to fill up, the tree ignited with blue, green and red glory for all attendees to gaze at, while cars buzzing by on Jericho Turnpike now had a beacon in the night to guide them. Inside the community center, the band provided much needed holiday cheer, playing “Jingle Bells,” “Carol of the Bells” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00
Eleni Pitzel has lived in East Williston since 1975, having raised five children. Prior to that, she and her family lived in Floral Park. Pitzel is a longtime club member, and served as corresponding secretary for two years.
Pitzel has been the club’s art instructor for four years; she also teaches art at St. Paul’s Orthodox Cathedral in West Hempstead. “My artistic skills are a gift from God, and from that gift I give back to others,” Pitzel said.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
MAA Travel Soccer teams wrapped up their respective fall 2013 seasons recently. Two MAA teams won titles this season in the Long Island Junior Soccer League; the BU13 Mineola Empire went 9-0-1 and the GU14 Red Bulls enjoyed a 8-1-1 campaign to each win first place trophies. The GU11 Honey Badgers went undefeated (6-0-2) and finished in second place in their division, as did the GU15 Mini-Mustangs with a 7-1-1 season record.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The Mineola 12U fall intramural baseball team celebrated their fall season and tournament championship with a pizza party/awards dinner on Nov. 20. In addition to celebrating a great fall season and tournament championship, the boys were treated to an inspirational talk by coach Ken Conrade, the 2013 New York State High School Coach of the Year.
Conrade, the Kellenberg Memorial High School assistant principal for academics and girls varsity softball coach, was the keynote speaker for the awards dinner. He presented a very talked about baseball and youth sports.
Conrade’s talk was framed around each inning of a baseball game. He used stories and examples from the first to an extra “10th inning” to drive home both a sports and life lesson. For example, as part of the seventh inning stretch, he had each player stand up, stretch their legs and then go and thank their parents for their support and commitment to their baseball playing.