Westbury School District Talks Budget

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The Westbury School District talked budget numbers at their meeting last week, proposing a $136.5 million budget and a -.33 percent tax levy decrease for the 2016-17 school year. The district is facing a shortfall of $3.6 million dollars, which they are hoping to offset with additional state aid. They currently have $1.9 million in state aid, but are hoping to receive more when the state aid numbers are released after April 1.

Most of the budget goes towards programs, which make up 82 percent, or $112 million, of the budget. The budget supports administration, instructional staff, non-instructional staff, instructional programs, facilities and operations. The district will continue to keep an eye on enrollment and is expecting a 2.7 percent (145 students) increase over last year, bringing the total student population to 5,465. The district is also anticipating an additional three percent, or 175 students, joining in the 2017-18 school year.

“We have to accommodate for the class sizes and mandates,” said Superintendent Dr. Mary Lagnado. “We look to see how many kids will be in certain grades to make sure we have staff in place.”

To accommodate the enrollment growth, the district is hoping to add 6.5 full time teachers, five on the elementary level and 1.5 on the secondary level.

The district is also looking to expand the CTE (Career and Technical Education) BOCES program, which will help them be compliant with mandates to educate any students, including unaccompanied minors, ages five to 21, who come to the district.

“We have an obligation to educate students,” said Assistant Superintendent, Curriculum, Instruction and Personnel Eudes Budhai. “If a student comes to us under the age of 21, our doors have to be open to them.”

The expanded CTE BOCES program will be funded by savings from retirements and will help the 30-40 over-age, under-credited students who are in the district.

The next budget presentation is April 14. The budget vote is on May 17.

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