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Kindergarten Problems Continue

Transportation deadline could complicate search for alternatives.

As the last year of full-day kindergarten winds down in Huntington, parents and agencies are continuing to seek programs to fill their children's school day when September arrives.

Eileen Knauer, executive director of the , said the Y has one classroom available to accommodate 30 children total, 15 in each half-day session. "It's not cost effective. It's better to get a site to house four or five classes," she said. The Y is "working on a couple of leads but we're waiting to see," she said. I'm getting calls every day" from parents seeking class space.  She said that a lottery would most likely determine enrollment in the Y class.

But finding a class and getting there could be complicated by state law and district issues involving transportation. On April 11, the Huntington school board adopted the 2011-2012 budget that reduces kindergarten to a half-day schedule. State law establishes April 1 as the last day for parents requesting district-supplied transportation to private or parochial schools. So parents who are trying to shift their children out of public school to full-day programs in non-public  schools may have missed the opportunity to obtain transportation. Parents who move into the district have 30 days after establishing residency to request busing.

In response to a question, school superintendent John Finello said, "Since any request of this nature would be made after April 1, we would do a case by case review looking at the circumstances of each case and make a decision whether or not to grant an exception to the April 1 deadline."

He did not say what that determination would be based on.

The reduction in kindergarten hours is among several cutbacks in the proposed $109-million budget. On Monday, the trustees rejected an idea for the Y and Family Service League to offer kindergarten enrichment classes at Jack Abrams school, which the district stopped using for classes last summer because of concerns about crime in the neighborhood. They did approve a plan to host a town summer camp on the grounds.

Meanwhile, the school board approved a two-year extension of its contract with Huntington Coach Corp. The district said "contract prices will increase by one-half of the rise in the applicable Consumer Price Index in the first year of the new contract. Prices will increase by the full CPI in the second year" of the contract.

The school board's proposed budget for 2011-2012 sets aside $8,821,776 for contract transportation.

Voters will cast ballots Tuesday on the budget and the choice of two trustees to fill spots on the school board.

JSC May 13, 2011 at 12:11 PM
I think the school board should seriously reconsider its vote on this issue. There are far too many parents looking for a place to enroll their Kindergarteners for the other half of their day. Jack Abrams would be the ideal situation for those who choose to use the YMCA or Family Service League Kindergarten Enrichment programs. If the Town can use the building, why not these two established Huntington groups? It would bring in much needed revenue for the district. As to the busing, Mr. Finello needs to set up parameters for qualification immediately, tell the transportation department, and get the word out. Since the board didn't approve the budget until April 11, well after the April 1 busing cut-off date, a new cut-off date should be set up along with the necessary qualifications. District parents deserve at least that much!
dream May 13, 2011 at 02:20 PM
I cannot fathom how this discussion comes up re: Jack Abrams- for Pete's sake, just reopen the school, restore full day kindergarten, get back to the business of teaching and get our schools recognized for the great educational opportunities we actually DO offer-everybody is always so focused on the negative- we need a serious marketing blitz!!!!
David Livingston May 13, 2011 at 08:44 PM
They pulled my post. Thanks Pam. I will post it again, I and wait for you to pull it again. A parent sent out 28 birthday invitations to a Kind. class in the Huntington UFSD. 14 of the invites came back "return to sender, address unknown". This is off of the school list supplied by the district. What does this tell you? Huntington tax payers are being taken to the cleaners. The kids live in other districts, and HUFSD is an easy mark. Why Pam took this down puzzles me.
David Livingston May 13, 2011 at 08:44 PM
The response Queen Pam took down. "Thumbs up David ! You are 100% percent correct. If the district will get a very close handle on who is coming into our schools, they will find out very quickly that a number, large one I might add, are living in illegal housing, or in some cases, not a US citizen. Why does a Real Estate agent get fined for renting out an illegal apt., but LIPA can put 2, 3 or 4 meters on a house w/out any documentation that the home is a legal 2 family????? The Town needs to stop giving out ANY Legal Accessary or Legal 2 Family permits going forward. The increase in a legal 2 home's taxes are so little, but if you house 2.3 or 4 kids in that legal 2, add up how much that is costing us the REAL tax payers and how much of a burden it puts on our district ! I feel every child deserves a fair education, but every landlord that takes in all this money monthly from their rent roll should have to pay a chunk of it to school taxes if children are being housed in their properties ! Town of Huntington needs to put a force in place that can start on one side of town and go to the other and clean up these illegal apartments....and I do beleive they know where most of them are :) Until we clean up town hall, we are beating a dead horse...Frank Patrone has worn out his welcome as well as a couple of others ......"
Pam Robinson (Editor) May 13, 2011 at 08:48 PM
OK, David, as I already told you, I have not been on the site the entire day, so I haven't a clue what you're talking about. It would be helpful if everyone stopped hurling accusations asked better questions or even any questions at all.
David Livingston May 13, 2011 at 08:49 PM
My apologies. Someone yanked it down.
Nmtg May 14, 2011 at 11:55 PM
I gotta say that this is all new to me. My wife and I, moving from manhattan, are/were looking into huntington to buy a home and start a family. We have been looking for about a year and just got news that friends we know are moving out due to this cut back. It puts a sour taste in my mouth as well. We came to Huntington for one part: the schools! Now I'm just not sure. Sad. Not so crazy about a town that's not thinking of it's kids first.
JSC May 15, 2011 at 01:35 AM
Nmtg.... as my mother always says, "this too shall pass". Huntington has always been a good district. We've had our problems as other districts have, and we are now dealing with somemore. However, I'm a glass-half-full type of person and believe that as we get some level-headed people on our school board once more, things will calm down and we'll get back to business. Have no fear, you picked a good place to live and raise a family.
David Livingston May 15, 2011 at 02:42 AM
As a resident of Huntington, we moved here from Manhattan because Huntington is the closest thing you atre going to find to a Manhattan lifestyle, living in the village. No one moves here (too the best of my knowledge) for a school district that is consistently in the lower half of it's peers every year in Newsday. Your angst should be directed at the administration. My earlier post citing proof of a large number of students who clearly do NOT live in the district tax the services of those who do. The HUSFD must know this, but does nothing. I am sure most teachers share your sentiment. I as a tax payer am enraged that we are perceived as such an easy mark for those look to take advantage.
JSC May 15, 2011 at 02:46 PM
When the district finds out about a student who may not live here, they do take action. Your so-called "proof" could be nothing more than a house with one name for the mailing address and thus the mail to names not listed gets returned. I'm sure there are multiple families living in single family houses illegally - so do you believe that they even GET any mail? These families go to great pains to keep their names off the grid. But as long as they really live there, the district cannot send them away.
David Livingston May 15, 2011 at 03:17 PM
50% turn rate on mailers? Where is the action? There is over crowding in the school district, so it looks like not enough action was taken. Open up today's Newsday. That is proof that little or no action is being taken. So lets walk through this... Parent gets a class list from the school. Parent sends out birthday invitations to the class list and roughly half of them get returned. The HUFSD sends out correspondence to these same addressed and gets the same result. Half of these mailers get returned, and nobody bothers to lift a finger to investigate. - This turns into a Fiduciary issue to protect the tax payers. There are more students in the HUFSD than paying units. Evidence in today's Newsday. HUFSD is in bad shape. There is a steady decline in test scores, and it is failing amongst their peers. My kids go to private school, and we are parents as well as my children couldn't be happier. Would I like to send my kids to public school? Sure, but not at this juncture.
Sue May 15, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Unfortunately we are all dreaming that we can afford to pay for a budget that can continue to support full day k and all the other cuts. Paying taxes to run this district on the backs of the few can't cut it anymore. The well is dry. The teachers need to help our district just as others have in other towns and negotiate or they will force more and more out of their jobs. The state needs to give long island our fair share of support. Our town board needs to step up and treat our district as they do their own home towns of Melville, north port, centerport and huh.
JSC May 15, 2011 at 03:47 PM
I'm saying that just because the mail gets returned, isn't proof that the student doesn't live there! So what is your problem here? That these people don't pay enough taxes for you? Well, that's a town issue if they are living illegally in a single family home. That the district didn't personally tell you that they've already looked into this? Or that when the child registered for school they had proof that they lived at that address? The district cannot question any student's legal status in this country. And if they bring proof of residency, they live here and we have to educate them. So I'm getting that your problem is that there are actually "those" children even here in our schools. They can't afford to go to your private school so you don't have to worry about them being near your kids. Right? So at what "juncture" will you bring your children back to Huntington schools? When "those" kids are gone, obviously. Unfortunately, you just showed your true colors sir. Shame on you.
David Livingston May 15, 2011 at 05:27 PM
Play the race card you why don't you. The juncture I am talking about are the Newsday rankings I have referenced. You see, I make a living where I am rewarded by my performance, unlike some. I look at performance when buying a car, appliances, or anything using Consumer Reports or any independent service. When it comes to schools, I do the same. There are services aside from Newsday to assess how good a public school is. HUFSD performance is not good in comparison to its peers. Relative performance to it's peers says it all. Now unfortunately, YOU just showed YOUR true colors. Because I do not like the HUFSD does not mean I am a racist. If you want to send your kid to a high school that is in the lower quartile rankings amongst it's peers, then be my guest. I won't, and I don't.
Patched Out 2 May 15, 2011 at 05:45 PM
David, Just curious...... how do you feel about the financial performance of the current school board given that they have the worst ROI of any of the districts on the north shore of LI. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/01/educational_productivity/ Care to comment on that since it is a performance measure?

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