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Your Schools - November 2011

Mar 08, 2016




November 2011

  • A Message from the Board of Education

    Dear Hastings Community Member,

    The school year is well under way, with Falls usual activi-ties keeping everyone busy. All the back-to-school nights and teacher conferences have been held, the fall sports season has just ended, and Thanksgiving has come and gone. With the clocks turned back and our first snow storm marking an end to the fall mood, wed like to update the community on the Boards activities and priorities for this school year.

    It is the Boards privilege and pleasure to have our Interim Superintendent Tim Connors with us for a second school year. In August, the board met with Mr. Connors to discuss our con-cerns and interests. During that discussion, we identified four main goals for this year.

    First, we will focus on long-term planning, for the budget generally and capital expenditures specifi-cally. Last year, the District engaged an engineering firm to complete a five-year plan for our buildings and grounds. With that plan in hand, we will soon be

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    W W W . H A S T I N G S . K 1 2 . N Y . U S

    Continued on page 3 Continued on page 2

    This past June, Governor Cuomo signed into law a Property Tax Cap that takes effect with the 2012/2013 school bud-get. It targets growth in the tax levy, which is the total amount of money raised in property taxes. The law limits any year-to-year levy increase to a maximum of 2% or the rate of infl ation, whichever is less. The Levy in our most recent school budget was approximate-ly $35 million. In our next budget, the District can raise an additional $800,000 in taxes and be within the 2% cap.

    So, does this mean that residents tax rates or tax bills are also capped at 2 percent?

    No, the cap only applies to the total tax levy. Individual property owners tax rates or payments will vary based on changes in individu-al assessments, the overall tax role value, as well as STAR payments.

    Are there exemptions to the cap?

    Yes. The exemption with the greatest impact on our school district is for contributions to New York States pension systems. Increases to the employer contribution rate set by the State each year that exceed 2 percentage points, are exempted and those payments can be added to the tax levy. There are also exemptions for large court or tort payments and voter-approved capital expenditures. An allowance is also made for growth in the tax base to recognize the impact of new construction and/or renovations that increase the total assessed value of property in the District.


    Maureen CaraballoDistrict Treasurer

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    On October 12, 544 Hillside students participated in the Let's Jump initiative to break the Guinness World Record for the most people doing jumping jacks. The event was organized by National Geographic Kids magazine and First Lady Michelle Obama and is part of a campaign that encourages kids and families to get healthy and active. To set the new record, more than 20,425 people needed to performjumping jacks for one minute during a 24-hour period. All though it has not been determined yet, estimations of 20,500 people performed jumping jacks for one minute at several locations across the world. Hopefully with Hillside's help the record will be shattered.

    Author James Howe visits FARRAGUT MIDDLE SCHOOL

    Local author James Howe made his regular visit to Ms. Duquettes language arts classes this past spring, surprising students with a reading from his novel, The Misfi ts. The book served as an anchor text throughout the class social justice unit.

    During his visit, James present-ed the class with an anniversa-ry copy of The Misfi ts. He also revealed that his latest book, Addie On The Inside, would soon be re-leased. The students were able to participate in a question and answer session with the author, with some even having the opportunity to share original writing and receive his feedback. It was a truly wonderful experience for all involved.


    s s and he newperform24-hour

    ned yet, ormed veral ith

    Can voters override the tax levy cap?

    Yes. However, budgets that exceed the levy cap must receive at least 60% of the vote. Budgets with levy changes under the cap can be approved with a simple 50% majority. Note that a vote to exceed the cap applies only to a single budget. Districts cannot permanently opt out of the tax cap.

    What happens if the presented budget is defeated?

    If the proposed budget is not approved by the required majority, the Board may submit the same or a revised budget for another vote. If this budget is not approved, then the district cannot increase the tax levy from the previous year at all essentially a 0% cap.

    Making sense of the Tax Cap Levy continued from page 1

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    forming a group, hopefully includ-ing some residents with expertise in architecture and/or engineering, to prioritize the projects according to need and expense. The tax levy cap legislation enacted last June will certainly constrain revenues for the district. The Finance Committee will therefore focus on controlling expenditures and look-ing for additional opportunities to share services. In November, we will be meeting with the superin-tendents and some board members from the other quad-villages to discuss joint projects as well as the possibility of applying for a grant to evaluate consolidation of some or all districts.

    Second, we will continue to work

    Boards Message . . .continued from page 1


    The Advanced Placement (AP) program is a curriculum in the United States and Canada sponsored by the College Board that offers standardized courses to high school students that are generally recognized to be equiv-alent to undergraduate college courses. Participating colleges grant credit to students who obtained high enough scores on the exams to qualify. Hastings High School has an open enrollment policy on all honors and college level courses.

    2007 2008 2009 2010 2011Exams Written 335 359 317 330 319

    Hastings Percent score 3 or higher

    81% 84% 82% 82% 89%

    New York Percent score 3 or higher

    67% 65% 67% 66% 66%

    Global Percent score 3 or higher

    62% 60% 61% 60% 60%


    Continued on page 4


    On October 25th, the sixth grade visited the Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill, NY. This site is run by the Fresh Air Fund and provides opportunities for students to engage in team-building/challenge activities while being outdoors on a beautiful fall day. Students worked in small groups facilitated by Reservation staff and accompanied by a team teacher. They were presented with a physical challenge (swing-ing between two platforms, climbing a wall, moving in unison on a log, etc.) that had to be completed by every member of the group. Doing so required cooperation, leadership, creative problem solving and smart risk taking. Many challenges were diffi cult, but there was a great sense of accomplishment when they were overcome. We hope that students will apply these skills to the classroom setting as well. The sixth grade is looking forward to their upcoming annual Senior Friends Day on November 23rd. Information and a copy of the invitation is available on the sixth grade team page, which can be found on the District website.

    Total Students = 174 Exams Written = 315Number of Students at Level 3,4 or 5 = 279Percentage at Level 3, 4 or 5 = 89%

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    After a one day delay due to snow, students and staff arrived at school in costume to enjoy the annual Hillside Halloween parade. Parents and community members arrived at 9:30 to witness the numerous outfi ts. Various costumes, including superheroes, cartoon characters, monsters and villains were on display as students and staffed marched from the front entrance of the building to the end of the parking lot.

    Hastings High School CROSSING BORDERSStudents from the Crossing Borders program in Hastings High School and the Leadership Institute from the South Bronx held a car wash to raise funds for this year's activities. They raised over a thousand dollars, in addition to getting soaking wet and learning more about each other in the process! The Crossing Borders program is entering its third year and has over forty members in the high school. The program is dedicated to bringing Hastings students in contact with others students from around the tri-state area who have grown up in circumstances that may be very different than their own. The program fosters leadership and inter-personal communication. This year, they are planning to work with members of the Kingsbridge Youth Community Center in the Bronx as well as their long-term partners from the Leadership Institute. members of the Kingsbridge Youth Community Center in the Bronx as well as their long-term partners from the Leadership Institute.