Consolidation is the spin word for the times... it tricks people into thinking that by making something centralized it will be cheaper. There is a cost to running a facility, there is no doubt about it, however Greenburgh's facilities are built and paid off. If property maintance and oversight of the buildings is done correctly they will prove to be a valuable assest to the District for the next few decades and the cost of operation will be negligable compared to the cost of the debt to finance this proposed new construction.
A new building is not a plan to improve the quality of the education for the students, point blank. Progressive administrators in troubled schools in New York City, Ann Hutchenson Elementary in Mount Vernon and countless other areas where this proposal would be laughed at, still turned their school around depsite the bricks and motar, walls and floors.
The cost of education in Elmsford and Greenburgh is not sustainable, to even propose increasing the cost to the people that support the District is not just immoral it should be illegal.
Good luck Greenburgh taxpayers,... we share your struggle in Elmsford! View Comment
Bad plan, bad time, bad vision. Its not necessary, there are far greater issues to address in the district including; administration, cost of operation, performance of the students; capital needs of all the facilities.
There is no possible revenue and no benifit to the level of performace of the students. The school district budget is 3 times that of the Village and taxes an area 2x the area of the Village of Elmsford. The property value is insignificant to the cost to the taxpayers because a savings for the school, will cost the Village (cost the Village taxpayers at a higher percentage). What do they think they can sell Dixon for,.... $1.5m? $2m MAX!?! That will be offset by the sale of Village hall? ok what do you expect that to generate? Let's put our thinking caps on students.....
Never trust a developer,... Elmsford should remember this when they lost the very costly court case regarding the sale of a public roadway to the local junkyard and overpaid for property which became the Village's ramshackle DPW facility. No developer is going to buy property, build an adequate Village Hall, build their own units and not cost the Village a dime. Letsbreal.
The Greenburgh Daily Voice may wish to do some investigative journalism on "Baker vs. Elmsford 2006".
Elmsford is in the same boat as Greenburgh, I stated in an earlier posting that Elmsford now has 1 Superintendent, 2 Assistants, 1 “Business Official” and 1 District Clerk. Then there are 2 Principals and 2 Assistant Principals. That well over $1million in annual payroll for administration, not including benefits. This behavior is un-sustainable and poor leadership in the era of the 2% property tax cap and reform in government.
Any action is good, talking to neighbors, attending meetings, asking hard questions, demanding accountability and justification for any expenditure. Accepting “it’s for the children” is not acceptable. More money does not equal better education and that is what these administrators either fail to recognize or don’t care enough to know. Good education starts at home and in the classroom involves dedication by the teachers and discipline. That’s how the private schools are so successful with much fewer resources (except your Hackley’s of the world but they are the exception in our area).
Voting “no” to a proposal that doesn’t make economic sense is important and necessary. A community can only afford so much and these administrators will sell you the Brooklyn Bridge if you let them. That’s the problem with the school board members. They inevitably become close with the Superintendents and administration. They no longer feel there is any reason to question the proposal of the administration and they begin to forget who they are working for (the taxpayers).
The Elmsford school district was never “great” by any means. But over the last decade there has been disturbing turnover in the Principal positions at both schools, a 100% increase in the number of administrators but no improvement in the finished product of the District, no relief in the property tax.
It's not the caliper of the students, or their test scores. It’s recognizing that a new building is not going to significantly change anything. A faulty education program is still going to be faulty, the community perception of the schools will still be bad and the cost of operating the school district is only going to increase to tax payers.
In Greenburgh school district, almost 40% of eligible school age children are sent to private schools, in Elmsford that number is almost 30%. Compare that to Ardsley at 2% or Dobbs Ferry which is under 5%.
Elmsford and Greenburgh residents are not demanding new buildings or new fields, they want their children to receive a high quality education and be competitive for college admissions and future careers. It’s funny that the Districts such as Greenburgh and Elmsford where the population are of modest means have the greatest burden with regard to the low value local education provides to their property and the high cost per pupil. On top of that 30% & 40% of these struggling families pay extra to educate their children in private schools.
They don’t have the time to complain or argue. Their case is made by their action, but do the schools boards recognize it?
The Superintendent in Elmsford has done the same thing. 2 new Assistant Superintendent positions and 2 new Assistant Principal positions within the last few years. That’s 4 new non-instructing administrators, that never existed before, added to a District of 960 students.
How does this happen? The school board insulates themselves around the Administration and they lose the ability to become impartial. Before you know any it any initiative proposed by the Administration can be justified and the problems snow ball. View Comment
many of these comments are accurate,... and i wonder if there is any investigative reporting done by the editor and article authors in regard to the information posted in these comments.
One significant measure not mentioned in this article is the level of enforcement which has led to the increase in building permit revenue. The GB Building Department has been successfull in issuing more violations and resulting in the property owner pulilng building permits that they otherwise would have never got. For a quick correlation i would display the graphic of building permits along side the violations issued during the respective time frame. It may be interesting. View Comment
Well first of all Aramark not a wellness and education program. It is a nation wide corporation that handles food services for federal and state prisons, hospitals and schools. So when you see changes in food mandates remember that Aramark is likely to make more money somehow. Please don't believe the spin that the Federal Government is really interested in the food choices for children.
Secondly, and more obvious, why is a school district providing free lunch to children (even if it is reimbursed by the feds). Where are the parents? I don't understand why it is so much to ask for people to be responsible for themselves and their own children. If the school must provide lunch, it should not be done for-profit, but if the meal costs the district $3.75 to prepare, then the student should come to school with the $3.75 or their own lunch. At some point people have to be asked to take care of themselves and stop relying on the government.
Politics is a dirty game, you have to please a few to get re-elected by screwing others. At the end of the day we are left with a Country that is lead by special interests, large gov't contracts and scandals around every office (corner). The power of the country is held by a very small group of people and those people are party neutral. Their sole interest is to maintain power, continue their way of life and fulfill their agenda.
People used to work hard for themselves and as a society had government to maintain order and provide a safety net. Now people work hard to stay in the government's safety net.
Immigrants used to come to this country to work hard, make a better life and make this country their home! Now immigrants work hard, live so-so, to save their money send it home and live the high life in retirement. Some groups take offense to learn the native language and we facilitate this by sending mailings in English and Spanish, special accommodations and countless other concessions. How much longer can those who are legitimate go on supporting a way of life for others that refuse to work and those that refuse to work for America? At some point even a civilized society, like ours, must make people fend for themselves, end the hand outs and hold people accountable for their decisions.
Hotels and motels have been a burden on the Village of Elmsford for decades. I’m assuming they were built along with the highways, parkways and dozen or so gas stations in Elmsford as our local part of the “American Driving Dream”. No one in the 1950s and 1960s could have anticipated the negative consequences, but by not learning from the mistakes the Village did not preclude by zoning additional facilities to be built and hence we received the Extended Stay not long ago.
The lower class hotels and “class-less” motels cater to a transient group of people with no place in the community. The only thing that was worse for the Village is when the motels and hotels were used for homeless housing. In the 1990s Elmsford had one of the highest per capita homeless populations around, certainly in Westchester County.
It is now 2012 and what is the Village left with?... dingy motels and 1 star hotels with no restaurants or amenities. They continue to be a strain on the Village’s limited resources, attracting a population that will never benefit the Village or its residents. Where is the relief? Where are the changes in law to prevent more hotels and motels? Mistakes happen and do not make people bad, not learning from mistakes and acting to prevent future mistakes makes the whole Village a fool. Re-zone the areas where motels exist now, Antun’s has closed, let’s act now before that property is re-developed into a 21st century flop house.
Teachers need to work a full year, or be paid for the time they actually put in. Children need the time off for holidays, religious observances, etc. but the teachers do not. Teachers are professionals paid by tax payers and like other public employees should have the benefit of paid vacation, sick leave, personal time and holidays but working 2/3 of a year and receiving salary for a full year is unacceptable. During time off teachers should be lesson planning, having their conferences, or continuing education. View Comment
Laurie Abbate said it best,.. it is one of the few traditions left at that school. The pictures look great and the students did a really nice job. The senior wall has the opportunity to provide upperclassmen with a sense of ownership of the school, school spirit and lowerclassmen the opportunity to leave their own legacy when it is their turn.
There is no homecoming, no carnival, I’m not even sure the seniors still have a meaningful class trip. At one time seniors could look forward to the Florida trip, not anymore. For that matter there are no annual traditions between the school and community besides the Elmsford Classic and that leaves a lot to be desired.
P.S. The vegetation was removed above the wall. For about $1500.00 eight or ten shade trees could have been planted in an attempt to landscape that area even a little bit, but instead another half hearted project.
No leadership. Its easier to spend more money than to make hard choices. In this case the choice isn't hard, just may involve tellling people "no!". Which for some reason has become a forbidden word in the last decade. View Comment
The Elmsford Administration did the same thing in Elmsford over the last few years. Added 2 new assistant principal positions that never existed before. Added 2 assistant superintendent positions that never existed before. Failed to select a principal to run the elementary school (we are on the 4th principal in 6 years or so). The elected school board don't know enough about running a public school and the superintendents have no interest in keeping a low overhead and working harder.
P.S. if all the administrators made a difference then the money is worth it, but so far,... we are in the Saw Mill River without a paddle. View Comment
The re-registration program was a good first step by the District in recognizing a problem and taking an initiative to address that problem. The major safety and general welfare issue for the students are the over-crowded and illegal apartments that exist within the district.
To address that problem this program should have went one step further. “Red flag” addresses to which an above average number of students are registered. This number could be 4, 5, 7, 10 depending on the trend.
Above average residences should be investigated by a district designated social worker and the Town or Village Building Department to ensure safety for the residents.
Living conditions contribute to a student’s general welfare and ability to excel in the classroom. View Comment
The prior use of cash for the addition at Grady is a whole other issue. The use of cash for a capital project of that nature is not good practice,… and further illustrates problems with the Districts’ accounting and financial policies (lack thereof).
You hit the nail on the head,… there are many uncontrolled costs, which are increasing every year and the District must have the funds and flexibility to make these payments. In these times of uncertainty to add more costs, in the form of debt obligations, that cannot be cut from a future budget is not good planning.
The Federal Government can print money to “solve” its problems, the Village can’t. Although there are needs of the district, financial responsibility should have a higher priority than all other things. If we tax our community out of their homes what is left?
Wants, needs and what we can afford. I’ve heard the students need an auditorium,… for k and 1st grade? Comon, put that “need” on the back burner. There are other “needs” mentioned that can be put in the same context. People can’t sell their houses, just drive around the Village and look at the For Sale signs. It’s not because of the crime, condition of the road pavement, taste of the water, fire protection,… it’s the tax burden and schools. And 65-70% of the property taxes are school taxes.
We want the schools to be 21st century educational facilities where every bit of attention is paid in the details that will facilitate higher learning for Elmsford students. The sad reality is we are not a community that can afford that kind of campus. Putting aside all of the issues: staff/visitor parking, pickup/drop off, cafeteria use, playground use, student density per acre, design, construction and future impacts to abutting property owners, etc this is not the right time or project for this District no matter what.
This School Board and Superintendent have created a top heavy administration. Replacing dual purpose teachers (when teachers were paid a stipend and performed Dean functions) with additional, non-instructing administrators. The turnover in Grady, look at the number of Principals over the last few years!!! These are the issues that need to be addressed and need to be addressed first. What happened to the head teacher at Dixon, now we have another administrator. There are 950 students!! We are not running a major State University here. These are some of the issues…. Their method is not working, their tools are not solving our problems, they are simply costing the district more money and sinking us farther in the hole and further behind other schools. I don’t mind paying top dollar for educators and administrators, but you should pay for proven experience, not just for the sake of paying.
Look at Westchester County's actions,.... they filled in half of Macy Park in Ardsley to make soccer fields. That land area not only abuts the 100 Year Flood plain, it is perfectly situated to act as a detention basin for the Saw Mill River Drainage Area in heavy rain fall events. The Saw Mill River from Warehouse Lane south could have been cleaned and better channelized to facilitate the movement of water to that detention area and then held until the southern end of the river could accomidate the drainage. Rather than sitting in the middle of the Village of Elmsford.
Woodland lake also has a storage capacty, unforuntatly it is silted right to the TOP!!, so there is currently no storage capacity and no way for the dam at Woodland lake to operate as it is designed.
Property owners, particularly the commerical and industrial property owners along this river should be contacted to see to what extent they would assist the Village and Town in an ongoing maintaince effort to keep the river clear and unobstructed. The cost of waiting is far greater than the cost of action. Do something, anything, even if its wrong!
Great letter….. Unbelievable in this era of accountability and oversight this could even occur. It’s amazing this has not created more controversy and seemingly been swept under the rug. Had it not been for this online news site I certainly wouldn’t have heard about it. I was ashamed that the Elmsford School District pays for housing for the Superintendent to live in Hartsdale (not confirmed and could be just a rumor), this tops the cake!
It really is only the press and good, unbiased, investigative reporting that will keep the local community apprised to this situations. Most people are kept to busy with their day to day lives to monitor the different levels of local government and those that are have no way to spread information. If the cookie jar is left unattended long enough the cookies will disappear.
Please keep the good work up!!
Interesting points..... and I would like to elaborate on your thoughts and assumptions.
1. I have been to Dixon several times in the last 3 years. I know some parents that currently send their children there. I have not been inside in the last 9 months or so. The classrooms are of adequate size although like everything else the building needs updating. Is it perfect, no, of course not. My point is to take the actions and spend money where there will be the greatest benefit for the performance of the schools at the lowest cost. Unlike a private school where there is only an interest in the students who attend, in a public education system there is an obligation for students as well of those that do not use the schools but must still pay for them. Try this out,…. Call a realtor, any one of them that do business in Elmsford, and ask their impression of buyers and the Elmsford schools. Many buyers shy away (run away) from Elmsford schools but it is not the facilities that have the bad reputation so why is the Board and administration insistent on fixing that first?
2. I haven’t attended the meetings but have followed the documents that have been posted on the internet. Community involvement is necessary and I will attempt to attend.
Who cares about the basement, the texture of storage walls, etc?
I wish i was paying your tax bill,.... 72% of my $10k annual tax bill goto schools. Where have the budgets been kept low? $30 million annual budget, 950 enrolled. That’s $31,578 per capita. For points of reference Our Lady of Mt Carmel, in a building built in 1929 (immaculate!!!! Elmsford facilities should take notes on the OLMC maintenance program) charges about $5,500 per year and Hackley School is $32,000 (good luck getting accepted to that school).
If you really believe the building is unsafe, yet they continue to educate there you should file a complaint with the New York State Education department. The reality is, as the engineering reports confirm, there are NO structural issues with either the original 1894 building or the 1929 annex. The building is safe, it’s just not maintained to a high standard.
Do you really thing a new wing, higher taxes and the same administrators is going to magically raise property values and send scores of new families looking to purchase homes in Elmsford? LetsbReal.
At the end of the day it’s not the buildings, teachers, administrators or programs that will make the difference it’s the PARENTS. Parental involvement is what separates the highest performing schools from the lowest. Elmsford puts up more money per student than most of the top performing districts in the County yet doesn’t measure up. A shiny new wing, with all the amenities isn’t going to solve the problem. No way, no how! If the parents are happy with mediocre performance I’m happy with a mediocre facility.
I do not question the administrations dedication to the children, what I do question is what tools they bring to the table to address the district’s unique issues. Besides a recommendation to spend large sums of money on a new wing to maybe improve some performance, what is there? Why jump to a “solution” so expensive and so drastic before any really progress is measurable?? I question the Boards decisions to create more administrative level positions, I question their appointments, I question their policy decisions. I question many things, but not their dedication to children.