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Herricks Board of Education Notebook: April 17

Other news from the April 17 board of education meeting.

The Herricks Board of Education held a meeting on Tuesday, April 17. Here are some of the things you may have missed.

Don Barton Remembered

  • The board held a moment of silence for technology director Don Barton, who .
  • “On behalf of the board of education and all the administrators here, we would like to extend our deepest condolances to his family at this very sad time and I just wish them the best,” board president Christine Turner said. “Don was well loved in our district and he worked very hard and we’re really, really going to truly miss him.”
  • Superintendent Dr. John Bierwirth related how when practically no other school district had figured out how to file a specific report to the state, Barton had not only determined how, but had submitted the report ahead of his request.
  • “I would say, three, four, five times we were literally the only school district in the county who had figured out how to do something like that so I never worried. I think... what a wonderful person he was. He made stuff work when nobody else in the school could.”

BOCES Budget

  • Once a year, all Nassau County school districts are required to meet on a specific day to vote on the BOCES administrative budget and for BOCES Board trustees.
  • For the 2012-13 school year, the administrative operations budget is $19,305,205, a 1.9 percent increase over last year.
  • The Herricks Board voted in favor of the BOCES budget, and recommended that incumbents Susan Bergtraum, Michael Weinick, and Martin R. Kaye be reelected to the BOCES Board.
  • There are currently only three available seats on the BOCES Board and each component school board is entitled to cast one vote for each vacancy.
  • To Herricks the budget represents a $1.60 per student increase.
  • “If we participate we contribute into this,” trustee Peter Grisafi said. “They do a wonderful job in preparing their budget and keeping their costs down.”
  • Dr. Bierwirth stated that BOCES “has a whole menu of services” including special ed and other smaller programs “and we choose which ones we want to avail ourselves of,” but that the district has been a “relatively low” user of BOCES services, with the telephone and computer upgrades as an example, saving the district about 70 percent while improving the quality 10 fold.
  • BOCES was also a sponsor of the district’s cultural aid prigram, upon which Herricks received aid back. The district PTA has also run its cultural arts programs through the district, allowing it to magnify its dollars by a reported 35 percent.
  • The board also voted to allow BOCES to create a career and technical education reserve fund.

Building Improvements

  • A water fountain donated by the athletic boosters in October/ November has not yet been installed Dr. Bierwirth reported since a “fair amount” of plumbing and electrical work has to be finished “and they are going to get to it when they can.” According to the superintendent the case is not as simple as taking out one water fountain and replacing it as “a whole bunch of plumbing and electrical work” must be finished. “It’s not going to be simple. (Physical education director) Jim (Petricca) says they may actually have to take part of a wall out.”
  • Work by the Town of North Hempstead on repaving some of the worst areas of the district’s parking lots began during the spring recess at and Searingtown. “Even with a mild winter we had some potholes that were two, three, four feet in diameter and six, nine, 12 inces deep,” Dr. Bierwirth said. “God forbid we would have a bad winter.” The cost is coming out of what the district saved due to the mild winter.

2012-13 Tax Report Card

  • Copies of the District property tax report card were distributed at the meeting and will also be mailed to all residents.
  • The , a 2.41 percent year-over-year increase from 2011-12.
  • The total tax levy is $87,938,388, a 2.88 percent year-over-year raise. Enrollment is projected to decrease from 3,941 in 2011-12 to 3,918 in 2012-13.
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI), given to the district by New York State, is 3.2 percent.
  • The district is estimating retaining 2.96 percent of their budget in the unreserved fund balance in 2012-13, and a total of $9.5 million across all fund balances, reserved, appropriated, and unreserved.
  • Under emergency rules, a school district is allowed to use moneys in an unreserved fund balance that totals four percent of their annual budget. This sum is rolled over year after year, and is not used to offset any tax levy.

New Biology Textbook

  • The board adpted a new biology textbook for grades 11-12 by Mader and published by McGraw-Hill, 2013 at a total cost of $11,188.15 (60 copies).
  • The textbook comes with a 6-year online subscription that includes teacher access to online support.
  • “In order to continue to have our program approved by the College Board as an AP class, it was required that the board... adopt a textbook that had been aproved by the College Board,” assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction Dr. Deidre Hayes said.
  • She also reported that on some books, “the pricing structure is done very cleverly so that the cost of getting the online piece without the text doesn’t save you much; they made sure that the two-for-one – getting the hardcover and the online piece – it doesn’t save you.”

Summer Language Immersion Program

  • Fees of $150 per student for the summer language immersion program were approved by the board as well as the following salaries for staff: director: $1,900; teachers: $900.
  • The summer language immersion program is a new program this year which will run 5 days a week for 3 hours per day for 2 weeks in August to support language immersion students in the maintenence of language skills during the summer months.
  • The program is dependent on a minimum of 30 students attending and is designed to be self-sustaining.
  • The salaries are aligned with that of the summer music program.
  • Dr. Hayes stated that the number of students determined to “break even” was 30 but that if more students attend “it’s not a problem, we would bring on anothr teacher but we have to make sure the program is self-sustaining.”

Contracts

  • The district approved a 60-month lease agreement with Konica Minolta Business Solutions for the lease of three Konica Minolta copiers (two bizhub PRO 950 Digital Copier/Printer systems and one bizhub 552 Digital Copier/Printer) at a monthly rate of $741 plus a cost of $.0011 per copy for bizhub 950’s and a cost of $.0047 per copy for bizhub 552 for supplies for the first 90 days under New York State contract. After 90 days the cost of all copies for service, toner and supplies will be $.0046 per copy for all three machines under New York State contract. It was noted that the state contract for Canon Business Solutions had some restrictions which were not as advantageous to Herricks as Konica.
  • Summer transportation contracts for 2012 were approved at 2011 student numbers and prices pending CPI rates in June.
  • Special education contracts were approved with the following service providers for students with special needs: Port Washington School District 2010-11 (two); Port Washington School District 2011-12; Garden City School District 2011-12 non-resident tuition.

Donations

  • The following donations were accepted from the Center Street PTA: $1,288 for the purchase of a roll laminator form USI Education & Government Sales; $12,747.23 for the purchase of a mobile classroom library from The Booksource which is under state contract.
  • The following donations were accepted from the Herricks Athletics Boosters: $895 for the purchase of a storage shed; $4,000 for the purchase of a lacrosse backstop netting system; $1,430 for the purchase of cheerleading poms; $1,860 for the purchase of two glass basketball backboards.

Other Board News

  • Stephanie Knowles was appointed as the new middle school director of special education. She is already working in the district as a psychologist in the middle school.
  • A bid for the maintenence and repairs of light and heavy duty vehicles was awarded to of Garden City Park.
  • Salaries for election workers for the May 2012 election and vote were set at $14.35 per hour for chairperson and chief election inspectors and $12.93 per hour for inspectors of election and assistant clerks. There has been no increase in the amounts since May 2002.

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