HEMPSTEAD - The Hempstead Board of Education, under new leadership, is considering staffing cutbacks.

At issue is the firing of 18 staff members and the elimination of 18 other positions — most of them teachers.

Gwendolyn Jackson, the board's new vice president, says the top priority is children, and that the recommended cuts are based on the number of students incoming in September.

"Based on enrollment, this is how we made these decisions," she says.

The district has struggled for years, most recently with overcrowding due to an influx of immigrant children. Many parents have complained that their kids lack basic supplies and that school leaders are not transparent toward the community.

The district's new interim superintendent, Fadhilika Atiba-Weza, says board members are working to change that.

"We have a long way to go," Atiba-Weza says. "But...together we will do what needs to be done to get the state off of our back, [and] more importantly meet the needs of our children."