Budget, new trustee make grade in Manhasset school election

Adedamola Agboola

Voters on Tuesday approved the Manhasset School District’s $92,008,827 budget for the 2016-17 school year and elected a new trustee to the school district’s Board of Education.

The budget, which carries a 1.8 spending increase and a 1.7 percent tax levy increase, received more than 77 percent of 2,022 votes cast — a 1560 to 462.

Former attorney Christine Monterosso, running to replace Craig Anderson who stepped down from the board after six years, received 1,471 votes. School board President Regina Rule was also re-elected to a new three-year term with 1,598 votes.  

“I’m very excited to be working with the current board members who I have the utmost respect for,” Monterosso said Wednesday morning. “Although I have a lot to learn, I look forward to working with all the trustees.”

Monterosso, a 12-year Manhasset resident whose children still attend Manhasset School District, previously served as grade level chair for the Manhasset School Community Association, then on the Shared Decision Making Committee. She would later serve as liaison of the SCA to the Board of Education, a role she was the most important she played.

She has said she will bring a new perspective to the school board because her children still attend Manhasset schools.

Monterosso said the trustees have been helpful in getting her acquainted with the workings of the board including outgoing Anderson. 

Monterosso’s term begins in June at the next board meeting. Like Rule, she will a four-year term.

“I’m very honored that the community has chosen me to represent them and I look forward to working with all the other trustees to continue the work that we’re doing in the district,” Rule said.

Trustees have said the budget places high emphasis on maintaining and enhancing the “4 A’s” of academics, arts, athletics and activities programs across the school district. 

With approximately 3,300 students enrolled at Munsey Park Elementary School, Shelter Rock Elementary School and the Manhasset Secondary School, which houses Manhasset Middle School and Manhasset High School, administrators said the budget calls for an increase in the number of courses offered.

It’s a great day for the school community and most importantly, 3,300 plus students that we serve,” Manhasset Superintendent of Schools Charles Cardillo said. “The 77 percent yes vote allows the district to continue to strengthen the ‘4As’ across the district. 

Cardillo said the support from the Manhasset community continues to allow the district to be one of the premier school districts in the country.

The district will maintain current class sizes in most secondary school core instructional programs as enrollment continues to grow at the high school level. 

The budget will also provide for an additional guidance counselor at the high school as enrollment reaches peak levels, allowing for lower student to counselor ratios.

Cardillo said the district is hiring strategically this year at the secondary level in response to slight increases in enrollment. 

The school district is also seeking to increase the number of programs and courses offered across the district, officials said.

At recent board meetings, administrators have stressed the district’s goal of spending to maintain and enhance academic and arts programs.

To meet increased demand at the middle and high school, the district plans to add provide additional academic opportunities by offering AP Italian Language, Earth Science Honors/AP Environmental Science, Earth Science Honors, Digital Photography and Animation, school officials said.

Electives that were offered for the first time in the 2015-16 school year like Advanced Creative Writing, Journalism, Latin I, Multivariable Calculus, AP Computer Science and Accounting, will be expanded under the proposed budget. 

Trustees said the district will continue to add course sections based on enrollment needs while maintaining the high school “inclusion model” to appropriately support all students.

The co-teaching model in sixth grade at Munsey Park and Shelter Rock will be restructured to reflect the Middle School model of two teachers — a regular education teacher and special education teacher working together in each classroom according to Cardillo.

Officials also said due to enrollment growth, English 9R, English 10R, English 11R, Global 9R, Global 10R, US History 11R, Living Environment, Earth Science, Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2/Trigonometry will be added to reduce class sizes. 

Clubs and athletics, Cardillo said, will maintain the current level of team offerings for the junior varsity and varsity, while offering more opportunities for middle school students by adding an interscholastic athletics program for the fall and spring seasons.

There would also be increase in technology and digital initiatives with Chromebook purchases, instructional technology and infrastructure equipment for each sixth grade classroom at Munsey Park and Shelter Rock.

Also budgeted equipment purchases to achieve the completion of a disaster avoidance/recovery solution of a second Network Operations Center in Munsey Park.

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