A Message From Your Superintendent:
As we near the end of the school year, our buildings are buzzing with celebratory events and happenings.
On behalf of the entire district, I extend my best wishes to our high school graduates, who are preparing to launch into the next phase of their lives. Whether their paths are destined for higher education, the workforce or service to our nation in the armed forces, one thing is certain – they will continue to bring our community pride in the years to come. This year’s class distinguished themselves early on as a promising group of academically, athletically, artistically and overall well-rounded young adults dedicated to community service and support of each other. They have achieved hundreds of accolades during their time in our district and truly embody what it means to be a Three Village Patriot. I am confident they possess the skills and foundation to continue to achieve untold success in their futures.
In addition to our seniors, I commend the members of our sixth- and ninth-grade classes on their promotions to junior and senior high school. Later this month, our community will celebrate these milestones during moving-up ceremonies and collectively reflect on their time spent in elementary and junior high school.
This summer, we will be breaking ground on several of the capital projects included in our approved bond referendum. In an effort to keep the community informed along the way, we are launching a bond information tab on our district website. Easy access to this portal can be found on the homepage, and I encourage all residents to review this section regularly to stay informed of the progress being made.
Our major safety and security initiative continues to unfold at each of our facilities. Exterior communication devices and vestibules have been installed at the elementary and junior high levels, and we are in the process of updating locking mechanisms district-wide. These types of proactive initiatives will help to strengthen our already broad security measures, and I thank the community for their continued cooperation in adhering to the new protocols associated with these updates.
I wish to extend my deep appreciation to the community for their recent support of our district’s proposed 2014-15 school budget. Throughout the development process, our Board of Education and administration focused on preserving programs and services for students while minimizing the associated impact on residents. With your endorsement, we are able to accomplish these goals next year and continue to provide students with a comprehensive, robust educational program.
Although this year’s budget process was relatively smooth when compared to previous years, we continued to address challenges with several financial issues beyond our local control. Rising mandated costs, coupled with an inadequate level of funding from New York State, once again put a strain on our already limited resources. A major topic of discussion throughout the budget season was the Island and statewide effort to combat the Gap Elimination Adjustment. Since the 2010-11 school year, our district has lost a total of $29.1 million in state aid due to the GEA. This translates to approximately $2,150 for the average Three Village taxpayer.
While a slight restoration of the GEA is expected for the 2014-15 school year ($1 million), the amount still falls $5.1 million short for this year alone. As these monies continue to remain undistributed, school districts are forced to rely more heavily on their fund balances and reserve accounts to minimize detrimental cuts to educational programs and sustain tax levy increases within the New York State tax cap. I encourage all residents to remain active in appealing to their elected officials about restoring these monies and retracting the GEA in the future. More information about this topic can be found on the “Parent and Community Advocates” tab on the district website.
In closing, I extend my best wishes for a happy and healthy summer vacation.
Superintendent of Schools