The results of two surveys, one targeting the use of technology by the Tarrytown School District and the other, maintenance of its buildings and sports fields, are being scrutinized by a special district study committee.
Gathered both online from the district’s website and on paper to gauge the public’s feedback, the survey replies will be used by committee members for, “shaping the recommendations that they will ultimately make to the Board of Education,” according to a notice from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Howard Smith.
If all the potential recommendations calling for a range of work on the district’s school buildings and on both the high school and Washington Irving School athletic fields are accepted, it could result in a property tax levy increase of approximately 1%.
The committee that assembled the “tentative” building work recommendations was composed of “community members who are active in youth recreation programs...” as well as school personnel, Smith wrote. The committee’s work was prompted by the inspection of facilities by an engineering firm to complete a state mandated Five Year Facilities Plan.
The renovation encompasses 14 different types of work from paving and resurfacing and roofing repair at all the schools, installation of energy efficient windows and lighting at several others, to bathroom and elevator repair and fencing replacement at others.
Separate from the work on buildings, another committee re-opened a study that was completed a few years ago on athletics fields in the community. Following that review, it determined the improvements that were listed are, “...minimally necessary to address the ongoing problems of inadequate availability relative to demand and poor, potentially unsafe field conditions due to the resulting overuse of our fields.”
The improvements at the high school field included the installation of artificial turf, new goal posts and a press box for the main field. At the Washington Irvington School, the work included installation of irrigation systems for both the upper and lower fields and the replacement of sod at the upper field.
The school district noted that, “The estimated cost of the buildings and fields renovation work would be approximately $8 million and would have to be financed through a 15-year bond authorized by the voters.” State aid would account for about 30% to 40% of the cost of the work. In order to be eligible for state aid, the fields renovation must be “...part of a capital project involving renovation work on buildings.”
The district stated that, “A private donation will cover the net cost of work on the Washington Irving upper field not covered by state aid.”
The 1% tax increase projected by the cost of financing all the work, “translates roughly into an extra $120 on the annual tax bills for a mid-size home in our school district,” the notice stated.
Among the questions was one asking district residents whether they would approve separately the fields renovations, and another asking if they would approve the buildings work that would raise the property tax levy by three-quarters of 1%. A question sought respondents’ answers to whether they believed a district-wide vote should be taken to determine whether the renovations should take place.
The survey concerning the use of technology was designed for parents to “help us plan the kinds of additional training and technology equipment purchases that will be needed in the future in order to ensure that we are making the best possible use of technology as an instructional tool.” The district stated it, “...used federal funds to pay for a consultant to help us with this process.” The consultant developed the survey. Much of it dealt with the degree to which students were using computer technology for various purposes.
The successor to longtime Irvington High School Principal, Dr. Scott Mosenthal, was appointed by the Irvington Board of Education last month after a lengthy search.
David Cohen, who has been principal of Midwood High School in Brooklyn since 2006, will take over July 1 from Mosenthal, a popular principal for the last 15 years and a 38-year employee of the Irvington School District who announced his retirement last year.
“David brings 17 years of experience in the field of education, the last seven of which was leading a 4,000-student high school in Brooklyn, with a vast array of impressive programs for students, including 18 Advanced Placement programs,” said Board of Education President Robert Grados. “It was clear to us that he is an outcomes-driven, determined leader who takes the success of his school personally.”
Midwood High School has been consistently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as a top high school in the nation, with 95% of its graduates seeking higher education each year.
“I am honored and excited to be making the leap from Midwood High School to Irvington High School,” Cohen said. “It is incredible to have the opportunity to lead such a great school and I am eager to meet the students, parents and faculty and begin this exciting new chapter.”
Irvington Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kristopher Harrison is looking forward to working with Cohen.
“David has a wealth of knowledge and an impressive skill set that will be a tremendous benefit to Irvington High School,” Harrison said. “His experience as a teacher, staff developer and leader will serve our school well as we strive to enhance programs and opportunities for every student.”
The Tarrytown and Irvington boards of education have adopted budgets for the 2013-14 school year that will be presented to voters on May 21.
The proposed $68.7 million budget in Tarrytown, which preserves most programs and staff, would raise taxes for residents in the Greenburgh section 1.53% and .04% for Mount Pleasant residents. The district received more state aid than anticipated, which enabled the budget to fall under the state mandated property tax cap.
A public hearing on the spending plan will be held May 9. Meanwhile, four candidates filed petitions for three vacant seats on the Board of Education.
Vincent Nadile is the only incumbent trustee in the race. Others seeking a seat are Jennifer Liddy Green, Carol Banino and John Paine. Trustee Paul Rode will not seek another three-year term, while Sheila Conklin resigned, effective June 30.
The two top vote-getters in the election, which is held the same day as the budget vote, will earn three-year terms. The third place finisher will fill the remaining one-year on Conklin’s term.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Irvington, a proposed $54.07 million budget, which is $1.27 million over the tax cap, will be presented to voters on May 21. The estimated tax increase for residents is 4.85%.
District officials utilized $422,000 from fund balance to help reinstate bus monitors, increase high school electives, and convert three 10-month clerical positions to 12-month jobs. The district also received nearly $200,000 more in state aid than this year’s budget. A budget forum is scheduled for May 16.
In the Board of Education race, four candidates will be running for two seats. Board President Robert Grados and newcomers David Graeber, John Montgomery and Seth Oster will all be vying for three-year terms. Incumbent Trustee James McCann is not seeking reelection.