NHP-GCP school officials await tax cap numbers

The Island Now

Department heads and principals in the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district have submitted their budget requests for the next school year as the school board awaits the state’s official tax cap number, officials said Monday.

The district’s allowed cap on property tax increases will again likely be below 2 percent, district Superintendent Robert Katulak said.

Katulak hopes to have word about the tax cap after the holiday season, he said, but he expects the consumer price index, the cost-of-living factor used to calculate the cap, will be about 1 percent.

Another major determinant as to what the school board will be able to afford in the coming year’s budget is the state aid package, which is set to be released at the end of the school year, Katulak said.

Katulak said he expects it will be a “very lean” budget because extra funding added to aid packages last year is unlikely to come again this year.

 “All of that information determines how much the budget can increase, and when they delay that we’re kind of creating a document of absenteeism,” Katulak said. “… If we create it too high, we have to cut things. If we create if too low, it’s always nice to add things, but we don’t always get that opportunity.” 

In all nine years that Katulak has served as school district superintendent, the school board has always been able to leave major budget initiatives in place, he said.

“Our goal as a board and the district has always been to maintain our effective programs and our staff in order to deliver those programs,” he said.  

The school board encourages parents and residents to participate in an upcoming budget input session that will take place on Monday at the Garden City Park School, where residents can voice ideas about the budget at 7:30 p.m. before the school board meeting starts at 8 p.m.

Also on Monday, the school board addressed concerns about safety within the community.

Security lighting and cameras are being wired in the schools over the next few months so that all building entranceways and other portals such as garages will have security cameras on their perimeters. 

“We have been and are still very committed about safety in the community,” school board President Jennifer Kerrane said.

Kerrane said the board is in touch with county police and that as soon as any incident occurs, the police tell them as much as they can.

As recently as Tuesday, police were in Garden City Park giving safety presentations and they will continue to do so, Kerrane said.  

Also, Nassau County Police Officer Todd Atkin has agreed to attend an upcoming PTA meeting in January so all of the various committees can come together for a safety and danger assembly similar to ones that students receive in school.

“We are working together on this,” Kerrane said.

By Grace McQuade

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