End of School Year Wrap-up

Guest Blog on Parenting.com 

Last week, I attended my grandson’s pre-school “graduation” and it reminded me that students of all ages will be embarking on new school careers in the fall. If your child will be attending a new school come September – elementary, secondary or pre-school — check out my guest post on Parenting’s “Class Notes” 

Blog: Tips for Transitioning to a New School. Whether you are moving to a new neighborhood or your child is “moving up” to a new level, there are steps you can take right now to ease the transition. 

Curbing the Enthusiasm of Graduation Guests 

Speaking of graduations, it’s the season for high school graduations and according to the Associated Press (AP), some schools are showing no tolerance for loud and sustained cheering by guests.  For example, a mother was handcuffed at one school on a disorderly conduct charge. At another school, the principal admonished four graduates for the excessive cheering of their family and friends — and meted out consequences to the students! Although they have already fulfilled all of the graduation requirements, they now must perform 20 hours of community service to receive their diplomas. 

Is it fair to curb the enthusiasm of guests celebrating this important milestone? What do you think about punishing graduates for the behavior of their friends and family?

Sobriety Tests for Prom Attendees 

Another rite of passage that goes hand in hand with high school graduation is the prom. An increasing number of school districts have implemented sobriety tests to cut down on pre-prom drinking. In addition, they have purchased alcohol-detection devices in an attempt to keep students safe. 

According to a Newsday report, staff members have been trained in sobriety testing of students in at least 11 Long Island school districts. These include: Smithtown, Cold Spring Harbor, Connetquot, Hewlett-Woodmere, Islip, Long Beach, Northport-East Northport, Rockville Centre, Shoreham-Wading River, Three Village and West Islip. 

A spokesman for Advanced Safety Devices, the Chatsworth, Calif., company that sells the Breathalyzer brand tester, told Newsday that it was unusual for school districts to purchase these devices in the past, but in recent years sales have increased to schools throughout the country. 

While school administrators claim the tests are effective and have made a difference in preventing drinking, critics question whether educators should be administering sobriety tests to students. 

Nine LI Budgets Pass in Revote 

In a last hurrah to the school budget season, nine Long Island districts held revotes on Tuesday. In the first vote on May 15, seven of those districts had attempted unsuccessfully to override the two percent tax cap that became law in New York State this year. Eight of the nine reduced their budgets for the second round, this time adhering to the two percent tax cap. 

Only one district – Elmont – submitted a 4.9 percent budget increase to the voters. A bit more than the required 60 percent of voters approved the budget, enabling the district to exceed the cap. 

Clearly, New York State districts have entered a new era in school budgeting. How will the tax cap continue to impact Long Island schools, which pride themselves on being among the best in the country? During this budget season, a number of schools were closed, teachers were excessed, class size was increased, and educational programs were reduced.

What will be on the chopping block next year? Stay tuned.

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