Thursday, 05 September 2013 00:00
By the time this letter is published, the 2013- 2014 school year would have already begun in the Westbury Union FreeSchool District and the perennial discussion about overcrowding would have resumed. The likelihood of this happening is perhaps more certain since the district is unique among its peers as the only one that has been experiencing steady enrollment growth over the past 3 to 4 years, while other surrounding districts are seeing a decline. The total district population now stands at approximately 48,000; an enrollment growth of approximately 5 percent compared to the past 4 to 5 years. In some quarters it is a widely held view that there is a preponderance of youths from outside the school district overwhelming the system, creating overcrowded class rooms and a drain on the district’s resources.
This argument has not been ignored by the district’s administrators, since as early as 2008; January 23, to be exact, when I attended a Residency Advisory Committee meeting, formulated for this purpose, then district superintendent Dr. Constance Clark, outlined the procedures in place to deal with this issue. She stated that when the school receives information that the student is an illegal resident, the parents are notified that they will be getting a bill.
At the August 2013 school board meeting, one of the contractors charged with this responsibility presented to the board. He provided updates on the strategies and procedure employed in dealing with this issue, and the most recent success rate. He stated that of the 50 cases presented to him, 20 were successfully resolved. In my opinion, one “out of district” student is one too many, but at the same time in examining this matter, we should do so in a manner that provides perspective as to the severity of the problem. At the risk of being perceived as trying to downplay the problem, I contend that 50 students, from a total of 48, 00 (1%) do not a crisis create. What I would urge is for the district to continue to keep the pressure on and for residents to cooperate in providing information to the school administration in instances where investigation is deemed necessary.
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:00
Once a week, Robert Blume goes to Virpa Convenience on Carman Ave. to buy breakfast and lottery tickets. When he bought his Mega Millions and Powerball tickets on Sunday, Oct. 20, it was just like any other day. But when he went in to Virpa to check his tickets later that week, life changed forever.
He won $7 with his Mega Millions ticket, and then ran his Powerball ticket through the ticket check. Instead of the usual reading of “Sorry You Are Not A Winner,” he saw a message that said ‘Big Winner. See Retailer.’
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
“Art is beautiful. It's all around us and makes you see the world in a different way. Anyone can learn to paint, it just takes time, but when you do, you never look at clouds the same way or water the same way or even at the beach the same way.” These are the words of Westbury’s own artist and teacher Laura Meshover. Her captivating oil paintings exhibit the very essence of photo realism.
“I always knew I wanted to be an artist even from way back at a young age,” explained Meshover. “I used to take painting lessons in my neighbor’s basement when I was a little girl. You can’t do that kind of stuff anymore,” she said with a laugh.
Thursday, 12 December 2013 00:00
Congratulations to the Westbury boys varsity basketball team who defeated East Meadow High Schoool 57 to 51 to win the championship game of the Coaches vs. Cancer tournament.
The tournament was dedicated to Coach Martin “Bunky” Reid and the 1985 state championship team. Before the finals of the tournament, a poster signed by many of the players from the 85’ team was presented to Mrs. Reid to honor her son.
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
The wrestling team at Westbury High School looks forward to a fresh start this season. Last year, they struggled to stay atop the Nassau Conference, but this time, the team has a lot of valuable pieces that are crucial for them to flip the script and potentially climb to the top of the standings.
One of the shining stars in the school’s team this year is the dominating Raeco Jackson. For the past two seasons, Jackson has had an extraordinary winning record in the 113 and 120 weight classes. “Last year, my record was 28-5 and the year before that it was 30-5,” he said. With a total record of 58 wins and 10 losses, he has won 85 percent of his matches. His impressive feat helped Jackson receive all-county honors last season.