By Samuel Glasser
Jennifer Morrison will take over as superintendent of the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district on July 1 upon the retirement of Superintendent Robert Katulak, the district’s school board announced Monday.
Morrison, who was chosen from a field of nearly 50 candidates, is currently the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Eastport-South Manor Central School District in Manorville, covering kindergarten through 12th grade. She will be working under a three-year contract.
Morrison said she anticipates that the transition will be relatively smooth.
“There are almost 4,000 students [in Eastport-South Manor] and almost 1,700 in NHP-GCP, but kids are kids,” she said.
The board sought a candidate with extensive elementary education experience. Morrison taught elementary school for 10 years, split between the New York City schools in Jamaica, Queens, and the Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district.
They were “two very different types of districts, demographically, and it was very rewarding,” she said.
“The good thing about being a K-12 administrator moving to a K-6 district is that I know where students have to go,” Morrison said. “I understand what the expectations are. I get it. I can see the whole picture. I think that will be an advantage.”
Katulak, 63, announced his retirement in September. He has led the district for nine years and has 41 years of experience in education.
The board also voted Monday to adopt a $38.2 million budget for the 2017-18 school year.
The budget includes a $29.9 million tax levy, representing a 2.08 percent increase, the maximum allowed under the state cap on property tax increases. This will represent a $67.62 annual increase for the average homeowner, the assistant superintendent for business, Michael Frank, told the school board on Monday.
Frank and Katulak noted that the state budget, which should have been finalized on April 1, is overdue, which they said creates uncertainty about the 15 percent of the district budget that is made up of state aid. The district is assuming it will receive $5.9 million in state aid, they said.
“There is no state budget,” Frank said. “We have no choice but to go with the governor’s proposal and keep our fingers crossed that it doesn’t go lower. We are not changing the budget after tonight.”
School district residents will vote on the budget May 16 at Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park. The district moved polls there from the Manor Oaks School over safety concerns about having students in the building during the vote.
Voters will also be asked to fund $3 million in spending for needed repairs around the district from a capital reserve fund. The district will not incur new debt, school officials said.