Elmsford Schools Referendum Overwhelmingly Rejected

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On a vote of 468 to 115, Elmsford Union Free School District residents rejected a $21 million plan to expand Alice E. Grady Elementary School and close Carl L. Dixson Primary School.
On a vote of 468 to 115, Elmsford Union Free School District residents rejected a $21 million plan to expand Alice E. Grady Elementary School and close Carl L. Dixson Primary School. Photo Credit: File

ELMSFORD, N.Y. — The Elmsford school district's capital plan was overwhelmingly turned down by voters Wednesday, with 468 people voting against the plan to consolidate students into Alice E. Grady Elementary School and close Carl L. Dixson Primary School.

A total of 583 people voted, said school district Clerk Diane Caperna. The $21 million plan would have renovated and expanded Grady, raising school district taxes by about $340 per year.

The capital plan was turned down despite receiving the support of Elmsford Mayor Robert Williams. The village planned to buy the Dixson building and turn it into a combined village hall, police headquarters and senior community center, which would have relieved the tax burden from the Grady construction costs, Williams said.

Elmsford school board President Matthew Evans said the overwhelming defeat means the board will look for a new way to address facility issues in the district.

"When you look at a vote like that, the board needs to revisit, look at and listen to figure out where we go from here," Evans said.

Evans added that the board hasn't had the opportunity to fully digest the results, and will have to look into how it will fix the schools' structural issues.

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The value of village residents houses dropping has nothing to do with the condition of Dixon. How about the quality of life in Elmsford? People avoiding 287 are going 50+ mph on 119. Garbage strewn up and down every street in the village. I personally watched a driver make a u-turn on 119 and drive over the new sidewalks knocking over a sign, the same day I watched a man urinate at the bus stop on the corner of 119 & 9a. I also watch atleast 12 kids get off a school bus on Evarts ave. Everyday, go into a house and throughout the afternoon get picked up by their mothers, some with ct plates. How many kids going to school in the district actually live in it? Elmsford schools are a waste of tax dollars. Time to start thinking about consolidation in greenburgh. 8 school districts in 34 miles.
You can be pulled over by Elmsford, greenburgh, county, and state police in Elmsford. Consolidate. Elmsford's DPW is in shambles. Their equiptment is rusted, the shop on Hayes is a dump. They have a highway foreman and a water dept foreman both making close to $100k. Is it necessary for 2 bosses for maybe 20 employees? The money wasted in this village is a shame. Start consolidating

You raise many of good points... the condition of Dixon is not on anyone's mind when thinking of buying a home or renting a nice apartment in Elmsford. The overall bad reputation of the school district prevails as the reason for the low property values. Quality of life could be better but has been worse. I remember a time when the Village was the Homeless Capital of Westchester.

Some things to consider,... the Village government operates very efficiently compared to the School District. The Village portion of our tax bill is only about 15-20%, where the school portion can be up to 70% of the total property taxes paid in Elmsford. The Village government still has many employees that live in the Elmsford and take a lot of pride in their work. There are also many Village employees that go above and beyond their “job titles”.

Consolidation is an interesting word but it doesn’t really mean much. The question is level of service, not necessarily who performs it. The great thing about local control is that a smaller group of people can make the decisions regarding how their community operates and the level of service they want to pay for and provide. In Towns and Villages that do it right, this can equal high property values and a really great quality of life. In places that don’t do it right it can just mean a drain on resources. Look at Edgemont, for years residents have felt that the Town of Greenburgh is not acting in their best interest and have considered incorporation. They could take the portion of property taxes currently paid to the town and pay for services as they see fit; they may hire their own cops or contract with another agency; they may pick up garbage once a week or twice; they may change their zoning laws to preserve or change the character of their neighborhoods. All these decisions potentially within their control, but in Elmsford we have all of these options and more.

On a more basic level,… if you see something say something. If you see people up to no good,… call our Village police on the non-emergency number and they will respond right away; if you see overcrowded, unsafe or illegal housing conditions report it to the Village Building department; if you have some good ideas suggest them. The Village government is very responsive to calls of concern from the residents. The concept is don’t assume anyone knows what you see or knows what you’re thinking. Get involved, the more people involved and concerned with the community the better it will become.

The tax payers of Elmsford will get what they pay for. They currently have a school that is need of massive repair or replacement. They have their youngest students spending their days in a building that is in a very sad state.

And that is exactly what they must want.

The people who voted NO on this have lost the right to complain about their housing prices being low because NO ONE wants to buy a house in their school district. They lost the right to complain when more teachers are cut to make the repairs affordable. They lost the right to whine about why there are almost no sports, AP classes or electives at the high school. When you invest $0.00 you get 0.00 back.

Those repairs will have to take place. The list of serious repairs is tremendous. I guess the 5 year olds will just have to suck it up. Maybe they should give them hard hats instead of crayons.

Very short sighted. What a shame.

I respectfully disagree with you. The voters of the Elmsford School District invest in the public education system every year. The annual school budget is approved on an annual basis by the voters. These approvals always include increases in spending. There comes a point when reasonable people determine that more money is not going to solve the issue. It just so happens that this point of reason is also coming at an extremely fragile time in our local, state and federal economies.

The School District raises an enormous amount of money in property taxes from district residents; the problem is there is no leadership to identify priority needs and spending from non-priority items. Instead of more special education teachers, we get more administrators. Instead of more building repair and maintenance we have $2.6 million spent annually on transportation. I don’t want to hear about the issues of mandated costs, I want to hear creative solutions to save money and raise the quality of the education our children receive.

People haven’t lost the right to complain about anything, they should demand more from their elected school body and they recently did so by vote. The Dixon school is held in the public trust, public buildings require maintenance, to ignore that and believe that when it got so bad the voters were going to be convinced to take out $17million and build a new one is absurd. The annex was built in 1929 and so was Alexander Hamilton, should we take out $65 million and rebuild the whole campus? For that matter let’s do like Pocantico Hills and pay for our students to attend a nearby high school. I think Ardsley has a cheaper per pupil cost than we do,… we could save a few bucks there.

Your comments with regard to the curriculum don’t make sense because that’s been my argument and others argument all along. The problem is that the District spends enormous resources to get kids performing for on a fundamental level. There is nothing left for AP. Is that the fault of the District, probably not, but it raises the question can we be all things to all people? The parents of the students must be involved. The public education system shouldn’t be expected to be 100% of a child’s education exposure.

I’ve been to Dixon,… its clear annual maintenance has been ignored for 5 or more years as this plan was developed by the school board. It’s time to fix the plaster, paint the walls and refinish / replace the flooring as the district did in the Dixon Gym/Multi-purpose room. That’s the start; other opportunities are available to make improvements to the Dixon Campus without triggering the mandatory retrofits to bring the building into compliance.

This voter response said a number of things about the Elmsford School District. Despite the School Board’s numerous meetings, press releases, mailings and scheduling a district wide Holiday event the same night as the Bond Vote... the school board's vision is not aligned with the community, not even close; residents cannot afford the current tax burden, let alone a substantial increase; the voters of the district are demanding leadership of the School Board and Superintendent. By leadership it means to get priority work done through difficult choices most often telling some no, to accomplish what is best for the overall community.

-Justin

Thanks to all the voters who showed the school district that they DO NOT have an open check book to spend the taxpayer's money!!