IP BOE, administration share updates at meeting
The Feb. 22 meeting of the Island Park Public Schools Board of Education included updates on in-person instruction, announcements about upcoming events, details on registration and an overview of the tax levy. The meeting opened on a bright note with Student of the Month recognitions, which honored students who exhibit qualities of being principled.
Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School Principal Cynthia Cameron and Lincoln Orens Middle School Principal Dr. Bruce Hoffman announced each Student of the Month honoree and read remarks shared by their teachers. Congratulations to Ruby Porcelli (kindergarten), Anthony Alonzo-Contreras (grade 1), Vincent Garone (grade 2), Liam Fallon (grade 3), Julia O’Connell (grade 4), Gia Mosey (grade 5), Valentina Boncina (grade 6), Gianna Hidalgo (grade 7) and Anasia Rodriguez (grade 8).
Superintendent of Schools Vincent Randazzo noted that the CDC and US administration are recommending the return of K-8 students to full in-person instruction and shared that to date, there is no scientific evidence of community spread in schools. He summarized the district’s phased-in return plan, which has successfully brought pre-k through sixth grade students back to learning five days a week in person in their buildings. Grades seven and eight will return fully to in-person instruction on March 22, dependent upon community infection rate. Masks are required to be worn by all, and sneeze guard barriers are placed on all desks.
The shift will dissolve the district’s hybrid model; however, the remote only option will remain available for all students. A family survey has been administered to parents of seventh and eighth graders, and staff members are in touch with families in anticipation of their full return to in-person instruction.
Looking ahead to spring, many exciting activities are in the planning phases. Fall and spring athletics are set to begin on March 22 and outdoor concerts and a socially distant Lincoln Orens theatre production will continue longstanding traditions in a reimagined way. A virtual art show will spotlight students’ talents across the grade levels.
The meeting also included an announcement about the Universal Pre-K Program. A total of 47 students are currently enrolled for the 2021-22 school year, and a second registration period will be held on April 13 to fill the remaining 13 spots.
With the 2021-22 school budget development under way, School Business Administrator Idowu Ogundipe explained the tax levy limit calculation and shared other budgetary information. The allowable and proposed levy for Island Park is 1.23%, which does not factor in the proposed LIPA settlement. The anticipated budget-to-budget change from 2020-21 is 0.70%. This represents the eighth consecutive year that the district’s budget has been at or below the tax levy cap and the 12th year that it has been in the 1.55% range or lower.