The follower letter was sent by Westbury resident Gila Rivera to Westbury Union Free School District Board of Education President Robert Troiano Jr. on July 7, 2020 and copied to the other board members and school administrators.
Dear Mr. Troiano:
I am writing this letter to urge the board of education to renew Eudes Budhai’s contract as superintendent of the Westbury Union Free School District.
As a tax-paying, home-owning member of the Westbury community for the past 27 years, I commend Mr. Budhai for the many positive changes that I’ve seen in our school district since he became superintendent.
For one, that all of the schools in Westbury have been in “good standing for two consecutive years” and that Westbury schools are “among the top 10 schools in New York State graduating the most students of color” (as stated on the superintendent’s webpage) is a testament to Mr. Budhai’s effective leadership, to the teachers and to the students in the district.
Secondly, I’ve noted a marked improvement in students’ behavior since Mr. Budhai became superintendent. For example, the students in the middle school are now more respectful of peoples’ property. Prior to three years ago, students walking down my block on their way home from school would toss wrappers, empty bottles and cans, and other debris onto my and my neighbor’s lawns.
And prior to three years ago on Halloween, students would destroy Halloween displays (e.g., one year they took a pumpkin that was on my front steps and hurled it against my front door). Prior to three years ago, students would frequently trespass onto my property, throwing their backpacks onto my front lawn while they horse-played there, rolling about on my lawn. None of this has happened since Mr. Budhai took office.
As a retired educator I know that respect for oneself and for others, commitment to learning, and pride in one’s achievement and good behavior often happen when there is a positive change in the culture of the school district. Such change initiated by Mr. Budhai, embraced by faculty and students, and reflected by the district’s goal of “honoring traditions and embracing innovations” is not only good for staff and students in the district, but also is good for the Westbury community as a whole.
In addition, when I pass by the Westbury Middle School and see the work that is being done to expand the school to accommodate the growing student population and when I hear from neighbors of the improvements that have been made to Westbury High School, I am grateful for Mr. Budhai’s leadership.
The passing of a bond referendum is among the greatest unifying and proud acts that a community and a superintendent can accomplish for the expansion of their schools. This type of commitment and trust between a superintendent and community is what makes successful school districts. It also makes us residents’ decision to vote continue to vote “yes” on the school budget quite easy.
I urge the board to reconsider its decision not to renew Mr. Budhai’s contract.
Editor’s note: At the July 7 meeting of the board of education, President Troiano stated that at an executive session on June 22, the members voted to send Mr. Budhai a letter informing him that his contract (which ends June 30, 2021) had not been extended “at this time.” The board intends to conduct a nationwide search for a new superintendent, and gave Mr. Budhai until July 15 to decide if he wants to include himself for consideration.