The Westbury School District adopted their $134,446,668 budget with a -.33% tax levy for the 2016-17 school year budget at their April 21 action meeting. The net tax levy decrease of $248,252 means that the average homeowner with the assessed home value of $320,000 will see a savings of $32 on their school tax bill.
In addition to meeting the district’s regular administration, instructional, staffing and facility needs, the budget includes the expansion of the career-technical educational BOCES program, which will be funded by savings from retirements and community schools aid. The district has 30 over-aged (between 18 and 21), under-credited students they must educate to comply with state-mandates. “We’re trying to provide them a skill-based opportunity so they can get a career,” said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Personnel Eudes Budhai. “We’re trying to provide opportunities so upon leaving us, these students are prepared to enter the workforce.”
One of the challenges in crafting this year’s budget was closing a $3.6 million budget shortfall. While the district had initially hoped to add 6.5 full-time positions, they will not be doing this to save $600,244. They also received an additional $308,339 in state aid (bringing the total amount of state aid to $42,929,833) and found savings in other areas including PPS, benefits, technology and the retirement reserve.
“We went through the budget again and cut it down to the bone,” Budhai said.
The budget also includes a transfer of $375,000 to the capital fund to be used for elementary classroom renovations, including floors and heating.
In addition to voting on the budget on May 17, voters will also decide on who will fill the three open seats on the board of education. Nine candidates are running for the spots currently filled by trustees Rodney Caines, Laura Pierce and Leslie Davis. Joining the incumbents in running for the seats are Pedro Quintanilla, Tanya Stamp, Jan R. Figueira, Shirley Cadet, Stanton Brown and Perelene Perpall. Learn more about the candidates at Westbury High School on May 4 at 7 p.m.