The recent article, “Malverne school budget sparks racial dispute,” was incorrectly titled. My criticism of Bea Bayley, president of the Lakeview chapter of the NAACP, was toward her and that association’s constant negativity directed toward the Malverne school district. Although there has been improvement over the past several years in student grades, higher acceptance rates into college, increased AP courses and accolades for our music and sport programs, as well as the new outdoor athletic facilities and to our science labs and both our elementary schools, the NAACP has never acknowledged these significant accomplishments.
Ms. Bayley chose to criticize us again in a racially inflammatory manner by focusing on the possible cutting of the business program and, in particular, a black teacher, Mr. Besson. She accused the board of retaliating against that particular teacher. Nothing could be further from the truth. A brief explanation of the budget process will show why her assertion is incorrect.
As a result of Governor Cuomo’s tax cap on the front end, with a cut on school aid on the back end and increases in teacher salaries, pensions and health care, along with mandatory increases in BOCES programs, the school district is being forced to cut a number of faculty and personnel positions. With such matters the Board asks the administrations of all four schools, the central administration, as well as the heads of all departments, (e.g., grounds, custodial and the athletic department) to submit budgets for the areas of responsibility. These include potential personnel cuts as well. When these budget proposals are presented, they are done so by department with a number indicating personnel increases or decreases. There is no race, gender or age indicated nor a name provided. I objectively review this information in order to make such decisions. If a position is eliminated, it is done in accordance with New York State law, which is “last in, first out.” Nothing else is considered.