Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 28 January 2011 00:00
The Jan. 20 Westbury Board of Education Action Meeting featured many inquiries from residents as well as updates on a handful of happenings throughout the district.
Superintendent Dr. Clark-Snead’s monthly report featured a number of items from the previous weeks’ planning meeting, including the availability of Mandarin Chinese in February and the newly-dubbed Accelerated Scholars Program, which met during the week at the Cradle of Aviation and formed an initial cohort of 28 students. The superintendent also cited the concerns regarding the proposed property tax cap and the possible impact on district funding. She noted that each school’s budget is being reviewed for 2011-2012 and discussions for the public begin in March.
Clark-Snead also mentioned the district’s protest of the Nassau County tax certiorari, which she said will “cost the district a great deal of money.” The district will join over 20 from the area in protest of what Clark-Snead called a “burden” on the Nassau schools. The board voted to table the resolution until further notice.
The board moved steadily along through its resolutions. The public comment portion of the meeting was most active, as residents took the opportunity to voice concerns on several ongoing issues.
One resident inquired about the absence of a principal in the middle school, stating concerns that taxes are being paid for the position but no principal was actually in place. The superintendent explained that there is a principal acting in the interim and a national search with 84 applicants has been narrowed down to seven possible candidates. Mid-February will be used for the interview process before a new principal is named.
As for the Wantagh annex, which will no longer be funded as of next year, the superintendent said she hopes to avoid returning to a half-day scenario and the district will continue to evaluate its options for the program.
One resident asked where the funding for the new Accelerated Scholars Program was coming from and was assured that, like the Cradle of Aviation program, it is funded entirely from grants and utilizes district instructors already on staff. Clark-Snead mentioned Adelphi University as one of the sources, and The Westbury Times has reported that Nassau County Edward Mangano also helped to secure a grant for such programs.
There was much discussion regarding the lack of bus matrons accompanying children to and from school, but Dr. Clark-Snead stated that bus matrons, while not required by state law for public schools, would be a “luxury” given the recent budget cuts. While the laws pertaining to private schools differ, Clark-Snead said the district plans on meeting with other districts to discuss shared services for transportation in the coming weeks.
Another resident asked about the once-planned press box, which would have been constructed via Coca-Cola vending machine revenue. Assistant Superintendent Dr. Marjorie Toran explained that auditors ruled that the vending machine revenue couldn’t be used for a specific fund but rather had to be utilized in the general budget. She said any future possibility of the press box being constructed would have to go through the “normal channels of a capital project,” but was unlikely to be built in the near future.
The board also commended Diana Joseph and Tanisha Robotham, seniors at Westbury High School, for placing first and second, respectively, in the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration essay contest throughout Nassau County. Jenifer Bonilla, a junior, recently won first-place in the Town of North Hempstead’s Recycled Art Contest and Argenis Escorza, a sophomore, took home honors for “Best Use of Recycled Materials.” Both artists’ work will be featured in the State Capitol Buidling in Albany during the week of April 11.
A round of applause was offered for newly tenured instructors Attilio Telese and Meriem Laradji, both teaching assistants at Powell’s Lane. Their tenure appointments will be effective in March.