Westbury BOE Adopts Budget

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The Westbury School District Board of Education adopted their budget last week, and now it’s up to residents on whether or not they want to pass the $130.7 million budget, a 5.6 percent increase from last year. The tax levy is 1.85 percent, which is within the cap.

One of the main components of the budget is the addition of 25.8 instructional positions throughout the district in September. Included in the new positions are seven full-time teachers on the elementary school level (five teachers—three special education, a math and technology—are expected to go to Park Avenue); 10.8 teachers at the middle and high schools; two district staff focused on enrollment growth; and two high school assistant principals.

Adding the new staff was a major priority for Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Lagnado. Student enrollment in the district has increased 3 percent each year and Westbury also received a sudden influx of 130 unaccompanied youth this past fall.

“We had to scramble to hire staff to be in compliance with student needs,” Lagnado said. “We need the staff. We’re being fiscally responsible and making sure we’re meeting our students’ academic needs.”

The district received $40.6 million in state aid, $2.85 million more than last year. State aid currently makes up 31.1 percent of the budget. The district also plans to take $10 million out of the reserves and fund balance, an increase of $2.7 million.

When asked if the new teacher positions would be sustainable in the long-term, Lagnado said that she was hoping to get state aid could help pick up the costs.

“We have the reserves and fund balance which will help [for now],” Lagnado said. “We’re also hoping the enrollment will stabilize, because if we keep going at a 3 percent increase, no one can sustain that. We feel confident we can sustain this for a few years.”

The budget vote is Tuesday, May 19.

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