I've been a resident of Westbury for 20 years and I am presently a trustee on the Westbury Union Free School Board. Therefore I can speak with a fundamental understanding of this health and safety issue.

As a resident, I have visited Powell's Lane School, Park Avenue School and the Westbury Middle School, and the issue common to all of them, though significant, is repairable.

The parking lots at the Powell's Lane and Park Avenue schools are prone to flooding after a heavy rain or snow, ultimately eliminating upwards of 10 parking spots.

More importantly, and arguably a more dangerous condition, the walkway in front of the Westbury Middle School is prone to a water accumulation that is at its worse state, a dangerous sheet of ice blocking the entire main entrance.

I have brought this to the attention of the superintendent, as well as Mr. Batkiewicz, director of facilities and maintenance, on numerous occasions. In addition, this was stated by me during both preliminary and action meetings of the Westbury School Board in spring 2008. To date, the conditions remain unaddressed.

I am of the opinion that these health and safety issues supersede non-essential construction projects such as the recently approved building of a Press Box, one that could accommodate approximately 20 members of the press.

After a vote with the majority of the Westbury School Board present, the resolution to construct the press box was voted down at the Dec. 17, 2008 meeting.

Decision made? Case closed? Think again!

In an effort to get this approved, the resolution was back on the agenda again in January 2009, one month later. Agenda item 9.2 called for the transfer of $120,000 is and can only be used for this purpose.

I ask you how can we earmark $120,000 for a press box when:

• As per Superintendent Clark-Snead, there is the possibility the Westbury School District will experience a deficit of $338,000 in 2009-2010 from funding sources;

• Every school in Westbury is overcrowded;

• It has been forecast that there will be an increase of 50 new students in 2009;

• We face inevitable cuts in federal and state funding?

Superintendent Clark-Snead has clearly stated that she is the CEO and can determine the priorities for our school district.

Clearly, from the looks of things the superintendent's priorities do not reflect or address concerns of the parents and the community.

Larry Wornum
Trustee, Westbury Board of Education

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