Budget cuts affect Westbury schools' resources

September 27, 2010 2:50:56 PM PDT
A new class in business law at Westbury High School is a positive sign in an otherwise challenging year for school funding.

"We have a wonderful school district, wonderful kids, and we just need to have consistent funding," said Dr. Constance Clark-Snead, Westbury schools' superintendent.

Westbury schools have lost resources, especially at the high school.

"We're short three teachers in social studies, in music and in science. We are short teaching assistants," said Manuel Arias, principal of Westbury High School.

Budget cuts have also threatened tutoring availability for students who now must meet higher state academic standards.

"Before, we could tutor basically every student with every need," said Arias.

The school tennis court, padlocked and in need of repair, is a symbol of the funding shortage. The boys and girls tennis teams were cut from the Westbury school district budget this year. These activities were included in an original budget, but were rejected by the voters in the community.

At the Powell's Lane Elementary School, a new wing provides extra classroom space, but school bus services have been reduced across the district.

"A lot of people lost buses due to the budget cut," said student Keyry Alvarez-Carcamo. "Personally I was affected because my bus was taken away."

Administrators are counting on more state funding, including the districts share of federal "Race To The Top" funds.

"We have to make sure that our students are achieving, so it takes money to do that, so we have to find other means to do that," said Clark-Snead.