School Board Meetings— Another Perspective

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I have not attended many Westbury Board of Education meetings over the last year, choosing to remain in the background. I have, however, kept my “finger on the pulse” of the district’s activities and I am also a member of the Westbury School District Bond Committee.

Prior to this last year however, I attended virtually every planning and action meeting for at least the prior five years, and only speaking to the period where I was active, I must take exception to the letter by Donna Sabella, published in The Westbury Times [Oct. 26-Nov. 1 edition].

In the years I attended meetings, I saw the teachers in attendance at school board meetings on three occasions. The first were those meetings when the board was voting on tenure. Second, and to the teachers’ credit, whenever there were student awards, some of the teachers attended, and finally, whenever contract renewal time rolled around there was a spike in attendance and participation.

Perhaps Ms. Sabella in her letter was only referring to participation during the last year and if this is the case, I must apologize. If not only referring to the last year however, then I must be as misinformed as Mr. Kirton, mentioned twice in the letter, because I as well rarely saw teachers at those meetings. The attendees in my experiences comprised the same eight or 10 faces. We knew each other by name.

I cannot speak to the number of hours at no pay the teachers spend with the children at pancake breakfasts or at sporting and other events and it is commendable that the teachers do that. Teachers, however, have done that since I was a child in public school, typically without the need to pat themselves on the back. Teachers, or at least the good ones, have sacrificed for a century or more and I’m not grasping why this now needs to be acknowledged in a letter to the editor.

On a more personal note, I especially enjoy the reference to “No one has the right to question a parent’s choice regarding what’s best for their child. I find it particularly offensive that Mr. Kirton brought up where our WIA President sends her children in another district.”

Interesting that the three times I ran for the position of school board trustee, my opposition, including the WTA and many teachers, cited that I was not qualified somehow because I sent my child to private school. I suppose the standard is different depending upon who the claim is directed at.

Ms. Sabella’s letter appears to be nothing more than a self-serving angry defensive tirade, mostly directed at Mr. Kirton and perhaps if there was any measure of improvement after decades of underperformance by the students, Mr. Kirton would be silenced.

—Stan Ercolano

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