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Letter to the Editor: This Bond Is Not Greenacres Last Chance

oaktreeTo the Editor: In my 25 years in Scarsdale, I had never written a letter to the editor, and now I find myself writing two in one week. What prompts this letter was a comment made at the January 22, 2018 Board of Education meeting. In his comments, the President of the Board of Education said it would cost an extra $30 million to build a new school rather than renovating Greenacres. As a taxpayer, I would like to know where that figure came from. One cannot throw out a number like that without showing clearly what it's composed of; it doesn't offer any credibility. I agree with the LWVS's comments that there has been no cost benefit analysis done to show the long-term costs of a new building vs. the costs of maintaining the current building post the addition/renovation. To quote the movie Jerry Maguire, "show me the money"... This is Scarsdale's largest bond vote ever; I can't go on blind faith.

To the teachers and staff at Greenacres, please do not view my opinions as a lack of support. On the contrary, as the grateful parent of three Greenacres alums, I want to provide both teachers and students with a healthy environment conducive to education. I was very affected by the post on this website from a former Greenacres teacher that said "I spent most of those years expressing my concerns to school administration about the smell, mold, dampness and humidity in my room." Even now, staff and parents complain about the odors coming from the basement of the school.

In addition, families in Greenacres have been complaining about the parking situation at the school for decades. One of the proposals that came out of the third and most recent Greenacres building committee was additional parking on the Montrose side of the field. This in fact, was suggested and approved by the Village. Why did the administration quash this recommendation?

I don't want people to think I'm stubbornly wedded to one side of the story. I did sign the Save the Field petition a few years back. However, as the process has continued, I have become more convinced that all options should be back on the table. I don't understand why the administration yanked the new school option that had a smaller footprint just after it was introduced. In addition, over the last year, I have spoken to some other Greenacres residents who signed the petition, and their reasoning was that they were unhappy with the inclusion of a large gym intended for the use of everyone in Scarsdale which was in the original plans for a new building. Their reasons for signing the petition had nothing to do with the field itself.

I don't want parents to be scared into thinking that this is Greenacres' last chance for a major project. Other votes have gone down to defeat in the past. When the initial proposal that provided money for the Quaker Ridge School was voted down 10 years ago, the Board of Ed had a series of meetings where they had productive discussions with residents regarding a variety of their concerns. The proposal then came to a second vote and passed. Even budgets have been voted down in the past, reworked, and then passed on a second round. NOBODY should view this as the last chance for a major project at our school. Everyone in Scarsdale knows that Greenacres is in need of major funding, and I haven't spoken to anyone outside of Greenacres who is against the possibility of Greenacres getting a new school. I have repeatedly asked the school administration why the current plan is a good use of my taxpayer dollars, but I haven't received an adequate reply.

If you saw my letter in the Scarsdale Inquirer, you know I gave examples of new elementary schools being built in the suburbs of major US cities including Boston and Washington DC for under the $40 million we're being asked to spend on Greenacres. If all these other districts are able to do it, why not us?

Please, no matter where you fall on this issue, please go to the meetings and share your opinions. I went to both of the public forums this past fall, and barely anyone was there. If you don't speak up, you can't say anything about how your tax dollars are being spent.

Mona Longman
Varian Lane

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Comments   

#7 Greeenacres Parent 2018-01-29 11:20
Why do we have to be voting for this bond because we are scared of what will happen? Why can't we be voting because we think it is right for our community, the kids and the teachers and the expenditure for a new school is excessive and completely unnecessary when the school we have has the bones it needs. This town is filled with old houses that are amazing on the inside, updated and perfectly safe.
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#6 Hollis Borteck 2018-01-25 20:23
I agree with Mona Longman's concerns and agree with her perspective. I would like to see the numbers!
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#5 Construction Costs 2018-01-25 09:37
There has been absolutely NO desire from the Board to explain the $800/sq ft of construction. Do you get a better price if you get a smaller footprint vs. large, if you build in one go vs. spread over only summers over many years... I don't know about you, but I don't buy it. And the Board just put up numbers to compare on the website with NO assumptions substantiations ...
This isn't right... This bond process needs to be reset
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#4 Resident 2018-01-25 05:47
Did you see that just this week they approved a new school in Westport CT for $500/ sq ft. This architect is saying that we would need to pay $800.
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#3 Another resident 2018-01-24 09:47
Thanks for a well-written piece that raises numerous key questions. I also feel that the important questions were never answered and that the process did not meet the standards that this well-educated and education-focus ed community expects and deserves.
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#2 Resident 2018-01-23 18:08
Did you hear Bill Natbony’s opening remarks last night? I am so sick of them threatening doom and gloom if this bond goes down. Bonds go down in towns all over the country all the time. You go back to the drawing board when they do.
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#1 Greenacres parent 2018-01-23 17:10
Regarding Greenacres’ teachers, I think they would be happy to hear about your support for a healthier school environment. In private, many of the teachers have expressed their concerns about the inadequacies of the current school building, but I believe they are reluctant to express their concerns publicly.
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