by Kathleen Duff
At its regular Monday evening meeting, the Grand Island Board of Education approved a request for retirement from Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Loraine Ingrasci, effective March 30.
Ingrasci's retirement comes after eight years of service to the district. Regarding Ingrasci's time on Grand Island, School board President David Goris said the district is in much better financial shape because of her service.
Ingrasci and Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann both spoke about the New York state property tax cap for the coming year. Christmann said that "No (school) district can get by on the same tax levy (as in previous years)," but both he and Ingrasci stated that it is not clear what any district's levy will be. Grand Island is allowed to raise its levy by a maximum of 3.61 percent. Last year's levy was $28 million. Both school officials promised to update trustees on the issue as more information becomes available.
Also in money matters, Christmann spoke about Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed state aid to education for this year. The amount is $805 million and is "expense-driven" for the year. He also noted that there is $250 million set aside in the budget for "competitive grants" to schools, based on performance. Christmann sees this education budget being approved: "I cannot imagine the legislature overturning the governor."
Veronica E. Connor Middle School Principal Jerry Parisi told the board that the school's "Parent Portal" will be online at the end of March. Middle school parents will receive a letter with their children's next report card, detailing particulars on how the assignment and calendar feature will work to benefit communication among teachers, students and parents. The high school will have a portal up and running in September.
Other miscellaneous noteworthy items were as follows:
•At their joint meeting on Monday, Jan. 30, the town and Board of Education will discuss the Island's growing and expensive problem with graffiti. Both boards urge anyone having information on individuals defacing public property to call 911 or to make an anonymous report to the Island tipline at 775-8696.
•In a cost-cutting measure, the district may discontinue its payment of the $100 required for substitute personnel to be fingerprinted by the sheriff's department.
•Grand Island High School Assistant Principal Andres Arroyo successfully defended his doctoral dissertation on Jan. 10.