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Westbury School Board Presents 2011-2012 Proposed Budget

Proposed Budget Assistant Superintendent for Business Outlines Several Possibilities

The Westbury School Board offered a presentation on its proposed and contingency budget for the 2011-2012 school year on March 10 in the high school library.

The proposed budget of $108,887,109 will feature a 3.41 percent budget-to-budget increase, while the contingent budget of $109,707,104 will feature a 4.19 budget-to-budget increase.

Assistant Superintendent for Business and Management Systems Mary Lagnado explained a detailed PowerPoint presentation for both options, citing a number of aspects that will affect decisions in the coming weeks.

“We have to make you aware in terms of what we may lose,” Lagnado said to the board, who along with several community members in attendance, saw the budget for the first time.

Lagnado said the total loss of New York State aid due to the governor’s proposals will be upwards of $1.6 million. BOCES aid will be reduced from approximately 61 percent to 47 percent – a loss of around $250,000. The $1.8 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) money will also not be renewed, according to Lagnado.

Anticipating reduced aid in the State’s upcoming budget, Lagnado said, “We try to make the best projected estimates” for the proposed budget.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Constance Clark-Snead agreed, adding, “From a national perspective, everything is in flux.” She said the district is “looking at all facets of consolidation,” but wants to “reduce costs, stay educated and competitive” without “devastating everything” with layoffs.

The district, with a possible salary freeze and attrition without replacement (Lagnado said 10 staff members may retire after the current school year) will save approximately $1 million as reflected in the proposed budget.

Clark-Snead explained several areas in which the district is pursuing cost-effective savings, including transportation, consolidation of units (possibly utilizing teachers in more than one school), overtime, facilities and grounds use charges, textbooks and testing.

“This is a million dollar business. We need to look at each operating unit and see where we can consolidate,” Clark-Snead said.

Lagnado said the district also plans on looking at additional energy efficiency firms to implement any additional savings over time and be eligible for State efficiency grants.

Board President Pless Dickerson noted that during tonight’s March 17 action meeting set for 7:30 p.m. in the high school’s little theater, the board will further discuss the budget and the public will have an opportunity to address any concerns or questions as well.