Issuu on Google+

HALF HOLLOW HILLS Copyright © 2013 Long Islander Newspapers, LLC Online at N E W S P A P E R VOLUME FIFTEEN, ISSUE 44 24 PAGES THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2013 DIX HILLS SOUTH HUNTINGTON Fallon: District ‘Not In Debt’ Residents concerned over possible school closures, tax increases Half Hollow Hills photo/Jacqueline Birzon Friar Finds Perfection On SAT By Mike Koehler More than 1.5 million seniors in the class of 2012 took the SAT. Just 360 scored a perfect score. A rare accomplishment indeed, it has happened in South Huntington. When St. Anthony’s High School junior Akash Nandi received the score from his Dec. 1 exam, he saw the numbers 2400. “I’m pretty happy about it. It’s not like anything I’d brag about,” Nandi said. Brother Gary Cregan, principal of the Pidgeon Hill Road Catholic school, said he realized that the junior was extraordinarily bright when he transferred from Syosset High School as a rising sophomore. “It’s not often that a high school has a kid of this caliber,” Cregan said. Cregan said Nandi’s perfect score was the first at St. Anthony’s during the principal’s 10-year tenure. A few weeks before sitting down for the exam, the junior said he went through 10 practice tests in the College Board’s Blue Book. He was confident walking into the test, and the thought that he had gotten a perfect score had crossed his mind, although he admitted there were a few questions he was unsure about walking out. He offered strong praise for the Blue Books when it comes to SAT preparations. “I know a lot of kids go to a lot of hardcore prep classes. I’m sure they’re effective, but I don’t know if the SAT is worth it,” he said. Nandi is no stranger to academic success, having taken many AP classes, including some during summer breaks. He interned with Columbia University this past summer, and come next year, he will be sitting in a college classroom. Nandi applied to Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Mas(Continued on page A19) A crowd of over 1,000 residents attended the first community meeting in preparation or the 2013-2014 budget at Hills East on Jan. 7. By Jacqueline Birzon More than 1,000 anxious Half Hollow Hills residents filled the seats and aisles of the High School East auditorium Monday night for a highly anticipated open forum in preparation for the 2013-2014 budget. District administrators and the board of education put on a brave face as officials outlined options for making $9.5 million in budget cuts, including the possibility of closing schools, eliminating student services and extracurricular activities. School officials outlined the district’s current $222-million budget, which operates within the state’s 2-percent tax levy cap at 2.33 percent. In light of current expenses, administrators said that to retain services under the current budget, the dis- trict would need to increase the 2013-2014 budget by 7.1 percent, raising the estimated property tax levy by 8.5 percent, a hike which would require the approval of a 60 percent supermajority. Some residents felt it would be worth it to pay an increased property tax while others said the option was unfair to residents who cannot afford to pay significantly higher taxes. The district’s reserve funds, referred to as the “rainy day fund,” is dispersed over seven accounts and has a present balance of $19 million, according to Assistant Superintendent of Finance Anne Marie Marrone Caliendo. For the current school year, the district tapped $9 million in reserve funds to maintain programs and lower the tax levy. For next year, the district needs to close a budget gap of $6,860,000 or pierce the tax cap. District Superintendent Kelly Fallon stressed that despite the state of the budget, the school is not in debt. Administrators presented their case via PowerPoint, discussing the viability of closing Chestnut Hill Elementary (saving $1 million), Half Hollow Hills High School West (saving $5 million), or Candlewood Middle School either at the end of the academic year (saving $3 million) or in 20142015 (saving $1 million). Officials said that declining enrollment rates make options such as a school closure feasible, and noted they would lease a closed school if enrollment should once again increase. Should enrollment decline at both the elementary and grade-seven levels, the district expects to save an addition(Continued on page A19) IN THIS WEEK’S EDITION Manhunt On In Dix Hills Robbery A3 GET YOUR COPIES OF THIS EDITION AT LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY (see list on page 20) Register for free digital subscription at Hicksville, NY 11801 Permit No. 66 CRRT SORT US Postage PAID STANDARD RATE

Half Hollow Hills Newspaper

Related publications