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Letter: Westbury Board Of Education Letter

The Westbury Board of Education began working in December 2011 with practical precision, sound financial direction and much deliberation in order to produce the 2012-2013 school budget.

This budget reallocates, consolidates and eliminates district positions. For the past month, the Westbury community has been faced with letters from residents regarding the upcoming budget vote. Although we don’t entirely concur with these residents, we certainly respect the fact that we exist in an era of freedom of speech and we would have it no other way. However, our constituency elected us to represent this community and as a part of our responsibilities we would like to go on record with our position regarding the decision to present a 2 percent tax levy to our community. It has been implied that the Westbury Board of Education and district personnel are not sensitive to the taxpaying residents in our community. Let us not forget the contributions our instructional and administrative staffs have made to assist in meeting the challenges of our financial crisis in education and at the same time the board of education has painstakingly reviewed areas for consolidation and elimination.

Givebacks from the Westbury Teachers Association (WTA) and Westbury Association of Administrators and Supervisors (WAAS) units include:

-WTA deferred salary and step increases to Feb. 1 for three consecutive years.

-WAAS Union took a “0” salary increase and deferred step increases to Jan. 1 for one year.

The salary deferments from these two units, with the bulk coming from the WTA realized a cost savings of over $3.6 million as generated over a three-year period.

While we regard early childhood education as a foundation to a child’s educational career the decision to limit the pre-kindergarten program to half-day was another necessary cost saving measure. On the half-day pre-K, the district saved $992,000 through reduction of personnel and transportation.

Through careful and diligent management of our finances we were able to appropriate $7.1 million of the fund balance into the revenue budget to maintain our academic programs and lessen the burden on our community taxpayers.

The board of education has worked diligently in presenting a sound budget while being sensitive to the taxpayers and ensuring each student continues to receive a quality education in the Westbury School District.

Dr. Pless M. Dickerson, president
Rodney A. Caines, vice president
Leslie F. Davis
Rocco N. Lanzilotta
Siela A. Bynoe
Laura L. Pierce