Think Ahead - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2246842

Think Ahead

After reading your article [“Teachers and Parents Speak Out About Elementary Position Cuts in Adopted Westhampton Beach Budget,”, April 17], I was not surprised to learn that 10 Westhampton Beach teachers might lose their jobs due to a decline in student enrollment. Unfortunately, this is happening in many schools on Long Island and is not unique to Westhampton Beach.

I can sympathize with the teachers, because it happened to me. I remember receiving a pink slip as a tenured teacher due to a budget crisis. But in my case, fellow teachers chose solidarity and voted for a wage freeze to save those in jeopardy.

As a past substitute teacher and parent, I have experienced only dedicated, competent and welcoming Westhampton Beach teachers. But what I don’t understand is the anger and fear of some teachers and parents blaming the administration and School Board for simply doing their job, putting forth a responsible budget while facing challenges from concerned parents and powerful unions. To imply that the Westhampton School District is no longer the best place to raise a family, educate children and work is simply wrong.

Over the years, the administration and School Board have delivered small class sizes, high per-student costs, and an abundance of clubs and activities that other districts only dream of, and that is why many teachers would be thrilled to work in the Westhampton School District.

As we lament pending cuts, let us think ahead about the challenges of high costs and declining student enrollment. Consolidation may be the long-term vision that we are looking for. Without losing our neighborhood schools, sharing resources would benefit all students while minimizing costs.

It’s imperative that we bring this challenging topic to the forefront for serious discussion so that we may continue to live in a beautiful community with an excellent school system.

Dorothy Labowski