Friday, 18 November 2011 00:00
As we reflect on some of the highlights from the past year, we are excited about the new school year ahead and the challenges it will bring in sustaining our outstanding programs. Last year was a tremendous academic year, with 120 AP Scholars, 4 National AP Scholars and 1 Siemens Science Finalist (4th in the Nation). We are proud to say that we had a 100 percent Graduation Rate, that 100 percent of our graduates received Regents diplomas and 83 percent received Advanced Regents diplomas. The average SAT verbal score was 585 and math score was 619. We also had an incredible year of drama and musical productions and we want you to know that the community is always invited to attend all of our productions and concert events.
Looking ahead this year, our budget continues to preserve such unique experiences as Outdoor Education, Long Island Philharmonic, Science Research and Friday Night Recreation while continuing to expand our AP offerings, foreign language offerings, music history curriculums and more. We are a community that continues to value the collaborative effort that we all share in and we thank our community for its input. It is through this process that the Board of Education was presented with and ultimately adopted a Grade Weighting Policy for The Wheatley School. The Board continues to ask for input and guidance from its many experienced and willing volunteer community members.
In this regard, the Board has available space in some of its committees and applications are available on the District’s website. We welcome everyone’s participation. Equally important to our academic initiatives is the safety of our children and the maintenance of our facilities. Our staff and student ID card program provides safer access to our buildings. The work on our Energy Performance Contract has begun, with the installation of new boilers at Wheatley, new lighting fixtures throughout our district and many more energy saving and contract guaranteed dollar saving initiatives.
Due to diminishing State and Federal aid, the new laws and regulations imposing a property tax cap and the establishment of a new evaluation process for teachers and principals, we will be confronting new and challenging issues in the year ahead. The goal of the new evaluation system, set by the State, is to improve the practice of teaching and ultimately, student achievement. Managing this district under a tax cap will continue to require careful planning, looking at different budget scenarios and speaking to our community residents.
While the cap on local property taxes is being presented to the public as an economic salvation, without relief from our legislature from costly mandates it will be almost impossible to prevent staff layoffs and reduced educational offerings in schools. Moody’s Financial Services has warned that the tax cap could hurt districts’ financial health and affect debt ratings.
The Board of Education thanks the community for acknowledging the hard work it did to bring you a fair and record low budget as witnessed by the almost 2-1 Yes vote in support of this year’s budget. We will continue those efforts with our successful Community Workshops, in an effort to allow all concerns to be voiced. Even with fewer resources, the Board, together with the administration, will continue to move the district toward excellence, equity, and innovation in everything we do. We hope that everyone will take part. Wishing all a successful year.
Mark Kamberg - President,
Robert Freier – Vice President,
Robert Fallarino – Trustee,
David Keefe – Trustee,
Barbara Slone – Trustee.
East Williston Board of Education