03/01/13 2:30pm

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The Miss Nancy fishing boat moves through Greenport Harbor.

Life could get just a little easier for East End commercial fishermen if a bill Senator Kenneth LaValle (R-C-Port Jefferson) ushered through the New York State Senate has the same support in the Assembly.

The bill that passed the Senate with only a single negative vote would allow commercial fishermen to aggregate their daily catch limits over a seven-day period. A fisherman could, for example, catch three times his daily quota on Monday and two times the limit on Wednesday and then stay off the water until the following Monday, thereby conserving fuel. The bill that passed the Senate would also allow individuals, each of whom had a fishing license, to go out together in the same boat with each able to take a daily or aggregate limit.

“Fuel for running a fishing boat is extremely costly,” Mr. LaValle said, noting that it “significantly cuts into the already slim profits” fishermen get.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), who is shepherding the bill through the Assembly, said he and Mr. LaValle drafted the bill together in consultation with local fishermen.

While the Assembly is focused on getting a budget passed by the April 1 deadline, Mr. Thiele said as soon as that’s accomplished, the fishing bill would move ahead.

“It’s a bill that is high on my list,” Mr. Thiele said.

Assuming the Assembly gives the legislation the go-ahead, it would go to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature.

jlane@timesreview.com

01/29/13 3:19pm

JULIE LANE PHOTO | School Superintendent Michael Hynes is continuing his efforts to protest state aid cuts.

Superintendent Michael Hynes has carried his arguments against state aid cuts to Shelter Island to Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr.(I-Sag Harbor), the man who will represent the Island next year thanks to redistricting. He has also emailed Senator Kenneth LaValle with his arguments. And he plans to contact Governor Andrew Cuomo prior to the February school break if he hasn’t made headway with the state legislators, he said.

He told the Reporter last Friday the district can’t sustain the 17.1 percent cut in state aid projected by the governor’s budget proposal and said he intended to take his case to elected officals.

“I talked to Assemblyman Thiele today and emailed [Mr.] LaValle,” Dr. Hynes said. “I am hoping to have more information by the end of the week.” Mr. Thiele was receptive to the superintendent’s concerns and told Dr. Hynes he would call him again when he has more information from Albany.

The cut projected for Shelter Island would amount to $83,588 from the $486,263 the district received from the state to help fund the current school year.

“I compare it to the stages of dying,” he said in a Friday morning telephone interview. He described himself as locked into the first phase — anger.

“I will never get to the acceptance phase,” he said. “It’s outrageous and it’s not just us,” he said. East End schools are all being viewed as though they possess the wealth that is typical of wealthy Hamptons communities, the superintendent said.
The proposed cuts have no rhyme or reason, Dr. Hynes said, echoing a refrain that has been voiced by East End superintendents in the past: the state aid formula reflects higher property values here, but not lower salaries earned by many workers on Shelter Island and the North Fork.

“We cannot sustain this,” Dr. Hynes said last week. It would “handcuff” Shelter Island School as it undergoes major transformations in efforts to better prepare its students for college and the job market, he said.

When Governor Cuomo announced his budget proposal last week, he boasted about an overall 3-percent hike in school aid statewide that would see education spending rise from $20.2 billion in the current school year to $20.8 billion next year. Then came the district-by-district breakdown with more bad news for East End Schools, Dr. Hynes said.

Shelter Island’s loss would put it among the top four in the state of districts being asked to sustain state aid cuts. That’s a position the superintendent doesn’t eye with any pleasure, he said.

The district begins its budgeting process on February 11 with a meeting set for 6:30 p.m. in the school library.

 

01/23/13 1:53pm

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Proposed state education cuts could hit Shelter Island School hard.

If Governor Andrew Cuomo gets his requested budget, Shelter Island School would see a 17.1 percent cut in state aid for the 2013-14 school year.

The numbers just released show cuts to 23 Suffolk County school districts. The governor said Tuesday he was asking for an overall 3 percent hike in school aid statewide that would see education spending rise from $20.2 billion in the current school year to $20.8 billion next year.

If the governor’s proposal holds, the school would lose almost $15,000 from the $486,263 it got in state aid last year.

Superintendent Michael Hynes wasn’t available for comment on the proposed cut. He and the Board of Education begin budget planning for the 2013-14 school year in February.

Typically, the governor’s budget request gets tweaked by state legislators, but Suffolk Country taxpayers have had a long history of getting less than New York City and upstate schools because the area, based on property values, is considered wealthy.

The argument area educators have made to their legislators is that property values fail to reflect salaries, but their pleas have generally fallen on deaf ears in Albany.

A few years ago, North Fork superintendents, armed with letters from area residents, took their case to Senator Ken LaValle (R, C-Port Washington) and then Assemblyman Marc Alessi.

In accepting the letters, Mr. Alessi told the educators that he needed figures to carry to his colleagues in Albany, saying he couldn’t just arrive in the Assembly with the argument that East Enders were taxed too high and couldn’t afford cuts in school aid. He had some follow up meetings, but was unable to win his argument that a new state aid formula was needed that would better reflect the economy here and the reality that the communities send much more money to Albany than they get back in aid.

01/22/13 12:00pm
ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO |

ROBERT O’ROURK FILE PHOTO | State Senator Ken LaValle has proposed creating a regional high school that focuses on STEM curriculum.

State Senator Ken LaValle has proposed legislation to create a new regional high school that will focus on the science, technology, engineering and math program known as STEM.

According to a press release issued by Mr. LaValle’s office Tuesday, the Suffolk School of Math, Science & Engineering Regional Technology Institute will provide STEM instruction to students in grades 9th through 12th at both Eastern and Western Suffolk BOCES facilities.

Mr. LaValle said in statement that the goal of the new school is to “expand learning opportunities for students and foster the development and advancement of emerging technologies.”

“I want to encourage students to pursue careers in math and science by introducing them to these subject areas in ways they may not otherwise be exposed to,” Mr. LaValle said. “I believe science, technology, engineering and math are the foundation for future economic growth and job creation.”

The senator first proposed the legislation Jan. 9. The Higher Education Committee, which Mr. LaValle is the chairman, is currently reviewing the bill.

jennifer@timesreview.com