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Tuesday, September 2, 2014
SCHOOLS
Local politicians allocate grants to North Merrick schools
Herald file photo
The North Merrick School District is planning a “beautification project” to spruce up the exterior of the Fayette School. Norma Gonsalves, presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, obtained $25,000 in county tax dollars for the project.

The North Merrick School District is the recent recipient of several grants that will help it pay for new computers and security upgrades in each of its of three schools — Camp Avenue, Fayette and Old Mill Road — as well as an exterior beautification project at Fayette. The grants consist of tax revenue that State Sen. Charles Fuschillo Jr. and Norma Gonsalves, presiding officer of the Nassau County Legislature, allocated for the district, all of which is in Fuschillo’s electoral district and part of which is in Gonsalves’s.

The North Merrick Board of Education voted to accept $40,000 in state grant funding for computer technology at its May 14 meeting, which Superintendent David Feller acknowledged was obtained “through the efforts of Senator Fuschillo.” The board then voted on June 25 to spend the money on 72 new laptop computers — 24 for each of North Merrick’s three public elementary schools. The laptops will circulate on carts to classrooms in the schools.

Feller said that another state grant of $40,000 that Fuschillo secured for the North Merrick district earlier in the school year paid for wireless Internet networks in each of the three schools, and that state funds Fuschillo directed to the district before the school year began paid for a SmartBoard in every classroom.

“We have a very good relationship with Senator Fuschillo,” Feller said. “When funding becomes available, he lets us know, and discusses our needs with us, and has been very helpful.”

The computers will augment laptops that school administrators use, desktops in school computer labs that students visit each week and iPads that the district has begun using in a special education classroom.

Feller said that children may use the laptops for class projects, research and Internet-based modules that come with learning materials the district has purchased. He described them as a “supplement to the things we already do.”

At the June 25 board meeting, responding to a question from board Vice President George Haile, Feller also said that the laptops may be used in the future for standardized testing as New York state moves to Internet-based tests.

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