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A Neighborhood School in Harmony with Neighborhood Norms

schoolpickupAs the community explores options for the expansion of Greenacres School, I think everyone can agree that the building design should respect neighborhood character and conform to local Village building code. The school is smack in the middle of a vital residential neighborhood, closely bordering homes. Whatever is built will inevitably affect the neighboring homes and impact the appearance of the community. Therefore, when considering construction plans, the Board of Education should keep the neighbors' needs in mind and respect local zoning code.

Greenacres sits in Zone A (3). If the building were governed by local code, what would the requirements for this area be?

Height: The code says, "No building shall exceed 35 feet in height." 

Setbacks: Setbacks from the street are enforced for safety reasons, to prevent crowding, to allow for placement of utilities and to give uniformity to a neighborhood. In zone A(3) the required setback is 30 feet from the curb. 

Maximum Lot Coverage: Greenacres Elementary School sits on a 3-acre lot, which is 138,680 square feet. If the building were a home in the area, the building requirements would allow for a building with a maximum footprint of 17,411 square feet or 14% of the lot. For a two- story building, the maximum square footage of the building would be double that --or 34,822 square feet – or if height restrictions allowed, a three-story building could be 52,233 square feet.

Though architects BBS have not yet provided renderings of the proposed addition to the school, they have said the following:

  • The proposed building will be set back only eight feet from the curb on Huntington Avenue rather than the 30 feet required for area homes.
  • The renovated building will be 79,147 square feet or about 25,000 square feet more than the guidelines.
  • The building will extend upward three stories starting at the bottom of the hill on Huntington Avenue. The height has not been provided.
  • The proposed building appears to cover at least 80% of the lot.

From everything we can see the building will not conform in any way to the current zoning requirements or character of the neighborhood.

Since the school district seeks approvals from the State Education Department rather than the Scarsdale Village Planning and Building Departments, the architects from BBS claim that they will be permitted to build a structure that far exceeds the capacity of the current site. Even if they are able to get variances or ignore code requirements, is that in the best interests of the residents? The building will undoubtedly be bulkier and taller than appropriate and from what we can see it will cover the lions' share of the site.

The perennial problems at the school will not be addressed and in fact will be exacerbated:

  • Where will there be space for parking?
  • How will children cross the street to the playground and field?
  • Where will they be safely picked up and dropped off? With most of the green space gone, will there be sufficient space on the sidewalk for safe entry and exit to the school?

It will be up to the Board of Education and the community to decide whether a building of this scale should be permitted, even if it does receive the stamp of approval from the State Education Department.

Perhaps the Scarsdale School Board should share the plans with the folks that govern construction and zoning in Scarsdale Village government. Let's find out how they assess the impacts of the proposed project? Is it right for the Greenacres neighborhood and for Scarsdale's kids?

What do you think? If you wish to comment, please use your real name.

Letter to the Editor: Greenacres: Construction Plans Should Emphasize Safety and Parent Involvement

Construction-Hard-HatsDear Editor: Before the new school year begins, the Scarsdale Board of Education will work with the District architects and newly  hired construction manager to address many of the unanswered questions regarding how to extensively renovate Greenacres Elementary School while dealing with a multitude of logistical issues, including student and staff safety, noise levels, traffic, parking, construction material and equipment storage and the expected use of at least part of the Greenacres field for construction purposes.

As the parents of several young children who are expected to spend 2-3 years of their elementary school years in the midst of this project, we believe that any construction implementation plan must, at a minimum, include the following components to provide for the safety of the children. We urge the Board to implement each of these, regardless of whether they exceed the bare "minimum" required by state law:

1. A commitment that either (a) no interior work will be done during the school year or (b) all students will be removed from the building for the duration of the project
2. A ban on outdoor construction activity that could produce airborne dust or debris during times when students will be outdoors and near the construction
3. HEPA filtered fresh air for all student environments (including the multipurpose room and gym) and sealing off of those areas from all outdoor dust and debris
4. Establishment of noise standards for construction activity with frequent independent monitoring and a mechanism for teachers to immediately shut down construction activity that interferes with student learning
5. No storage of construction materials, equipment or vehicles near student learning or recreational spaces
6. Posting of crossing guards / safety monitors during all times that students will be walking near construction activity or areas
7. No construction activity or deliveries during drop off or pick up times (including after school club pick up)
8. Lengthening of the shorter, new-for-2017 four minute long morning drop off period to account for construction related disruption
9. Accommodations for parent parking during school year construction (particularly if the Montrose parking spaces will be utilized for construction)
10. A commitment to real time online accessibility of all construction related documents material to student safety, including air quality, noise level and safety reports, material safety data sheets, test results, incident reports, the CIP and staging plans and, most critically, any changes to the foregoing
11. Expansion of the Greenacres Building Committee to include parents from all grade levels
12. Formation of a safety committee open to all interested Greenacres parents and teachers to establish a direct line of communication to the construction manager and to monitor compliance with the CIP and other construction implementation issues

In addition, as the architects work to finalize their renovation plans, we urge them to consider the following changes:

1. No parking lot should be constructed on Huntington Avenue between the school and the field as it would require the children to cross a road and a parking lot to access recreational facilities and make access to bathrooms even more difficult
2. The architects should study and propose plans for (a) physical alterations to improve drop off, pick up, traffic and parking during and after construction, including options to close Huntington to traffic during the school day to enhance safety and (b) adding bathrooms to the field to minimize the need for students to be escorted across Huntington during recess and gym (a teacher safety concern documented by the prior Greenacres Building Committee)
3. Fire sprinklers should be added to the entire building to maximize student safety
4. All lead pipes should be removed (filters are not an acceptable long term solution)
5. Air conditioning should be added to all student learning environments (the incremental cost is minimal given the size of the project and almost the entire building will already be under construction)
We hope that the Board and District will carefully consider and address all of these issues as they work to reassure concerned parents that every effort will be made to make both a Greenacres renovation project and the school building itself as safe as they could possibly be.

Christopher and Lynn Marvin
Elm Road

School Board Speeds to a Decision on Greenacres -- But Is It The Right One?

GFS-Courtyard(This is the opinion of site founder Joanne Wallenstein) The Scarsdale School Board and administration have reached a hasty decision on proposed projects for a $64.88 million bond referendum for the Scarsdale schools, now planned for December, 2017.

After a five hour discussion at a daytime meeting on July 6, the school board gave the administration the go ahead to continue to pursue a $33 million renovation and expansion at the Greenacres School as well as $29 million in priority 1,2 and 3 items to other district schools. A list of which projects would be included in the $29 million was not available at the meeting. The plan calls for $7 million in facilities work to the existing Greenacres school building for a total of $40 million on Greenacres alone.

The decision brought some closure to a lengthy discussion about the future of Greenacres School and removed the option of the construction of a new school on the field. The administration presented documentation, questions and answers, rough layouts and numbers to back up the proposal. Dr. Hagerman and Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey argued that they had answered the outstanding questions about Greenacres and that the solution presented by BBS addressed community needs.

But have they answered all the questions and do they have the right solution?

At the previous meeting on June 20 then Board Vice President, now President Bill Natbony, asked the administration for three analyses in order to make a decision on Greenacres:

They were:

  • A long-term comparison of the costs of a new school vs. a renovation at Greenacres including financing, state aid and energy savings. Maintenance costs for the renovated building should also be factored in.
  • An analysis of where students will be sited during a renovation, whether it be inside the school, in trailers or in other locations.
  • A traffic study detailing the mechanics of student drop-off and pick up at a renovated Greenacres School.

At the time, Natbony assured the public that the board was listening to them and some Greenacres residents were pleased that this information would be provided to facilitate sound decision-making. However, at the July 6 meeting, though the school board supported the administration's recommendation, they did so without the benefit of any of the promised analyses.

New vs. Renovation:
The analysis of the long-term costs of a new school versus a renovation turned out to have numerical errors that misstated the differences in the long-term costs of a new building at varying interest rates. In addition, though the board was given an estimate by a competing architecture firm for a new school at a cost of $44 million, and an estimate from former district architects KG&D for $52 million, the administration chose instead to do their analysis using a cost of $60 million which was over $800 per square foot. The administration previously said that they had retained a financial advisory firm to produce the analysis, but the questionable numbers were provided by the administration, with no input from financial advisors.

Several residents who work in construction and real estate believed that $800 a square foot far exceeded the true cost of a new school. However, even with this erroneous analysis and questionable underlying assumptions, the board voted in favor of a renovation and to dismiss any consideration of a new school arguing that it would be too costly.

Student Placement During a Renovation:
The Board previously requested a more thorough analysis of the logistics and costs of educating children during the 26-month to three-year renovation. If the kids were to be inside the school, how would they be protected from construction hazards? If they were to be in trailers, what would be the cost of those trailers? Or if they students were to be sent elsewhere, where would they go and at what cost? At the meeting, the architects put a placeholder of $1.5 million in the budget for trailers but did not specify how many students would need to be displaced or for how long.

Traffic, Pick-up and Parking:
Student safety was one of the key issues at the school identified in a 2015 feasibility study. The siting of the school across the street from the playgrounds and fields has been a perennial problem at Greenacres, along with the lack of a proper drop-off and pick-up driveway. Again, the administration provided no such analysis. Roger Smith at BBS indicated that he had not even examined the issue, when he said, "I think you pick up your little ones on Putnam Road." In fact, children are dropped off and picked up at all three entrances to the school on Putnam Road, Huntington Avenue and Sage Terrace. Furthermore, an earlier site plan had shown a row of parking spaces on Huntington Avenue, which would require students to cross the street and traverse a parking lot to get to the play areas opposite the school. This issue was not discussed and the Board voted yes despite the lack of this deliverable. With school out of session, the analysis will need to wait for the fall.

What other contradictions and conflicts surfaced at the meeting?

Though the administration previously acknowledged that the existing building had significant issues with moisture, and photos of bubbling and paint and leaks surfaced last year, they now claim there have been no problems since 2011.

Here is the wording from an update from the administration along with photos from the prior engineers report:

What About Moisture or Mold in the Building?GAbasement
"A major challenge facing Greenacres is moisture. The dirt crawl spaces and basement underneath the building generate significant humidity, which is controlled through the constant use of dehumidifiers. Without this continuous monitoring and mitigating, this moisture could result in serious issues affecting air quality, structural integrity, and maintenance. It should be noted that repeated testing by both District staff and outside consultants has shown that there is no significant mold problem at this time. Concerns about mold throughout the District are addressed with inspections from outside experts."

Justifying the current renovation plan, the administration says they will now move all students out of the lower level and address the issue with commercial dehumidifiers. As owners of old houses, many residents are questioning why the district would spend $37 million renovating a school with a leaky and possibly moldy foundation.

Pipes: Earlier this year the district released reports showing unacceptably high lead levels in the water at Greenacres and several other schools. These were remediated by placing filters on sinks and water fountains. The new plans do not call for the replacement of all the pipes in the building. Therefore, the water supply in the school will continue to be problematic.

Building Structure: Architect Roger Smith maintains that Greenacres' "Old bones are in good shape." When a resident asked for a report to back up the claim about the condition of the 100-plus year old building he was told that there are no reports and the claim was based on "intensive visual inspection."

Fire sprinklers: The FAQ distributed by the district includes a question about the lack of fire sprinklers but fails to provide an answer. See page 27. The administration says since the old school is grandfathered by the state, the district is not required to bring the rest of the building up to code and fire sprinklers will not be installed in the existing portions of the building. However, an earlier report from KG&D seems to contradict this claim, saying, "If a substantial renovation is anticipated any renovation that has a "work area" that exceeds 50% of the building (Level 3 Alterations as defined by the NYS Code) will trigger upgrades to meet most of the current code as if you were constructing a new building."

Priorities at other buildings:

The Superintendent repeatedly stated that the responsible way to spend this bond would be to do a limited renovation to Greenacres and spend the rest on repairs at the other schools. To that end BBS did an extensive facilities survey and graded proposed repairs on a scale of 1-5, with one being the highest priority. However, no justification was given for which priority 2 and 3 items were chosen for the bond. While previous facilities decisions were the work of representative building committees, decisions on these priorities were made solely by the administration.

BBS Architects initially said only Priority 1A items were required to meet code, regulation or law; but now Dr. Hagerman is saying that the districts needs to do all Priority items 1, 2 and some 3s "for health and safety" reasons.

In fact, the total of the priority 1 and 2 work proposed for all schools except Greenacres, comes to $18.6 million. If the district could do a $70 million bond offering, there would still be $51 million for a new school at Greenacres. This was not discussed.

In addition, many of the repairs at the other buildings are traditionally funded out of the district's operating budget. There is little precedent in Scarsdale for using bond offerings to solely fund repair work. Bonds have been used to pay for improvements and additions as detailed in the administrations handout at the meeting.

Building design and setback:GAJuly12

Architects BBS provided no building elevations or design details for the addition at Greenacres. From the site plan it was evident that the mass of the building would greatly increase, the gym will be surrounded by new classrooms and have no windows and there would be far more interior spaces without natural light or cross ventilation.

The building will extend to the curb along Huntington Avenue and Sage Terrace, despite the requirement for 30-foot setbacks for homes in the neighborhood. The three-story building along Huntington Avenue will loom over the street and there will be very limited space to enter or exit the school. Despite the lack of detail the Board voted affirmatively to move ahead with the renovation.

The decision was cheered by a group of residents who had argued to save Greenacres field. But representatives from the League of Women Voters, environmentalists and parents of children at the school were surprised that the board had voted to eliminate consideration of a new school without weighing what they considered to be vital information.

They point out that the main theme of this bond proposal is to ensure student "health and safety," yet, the prime health and safety issues at Greenacres will not be addressed by the renovation/expansion. Greencres will still have traffic issues; students will still need to cross a road to access the playground and navigate what is to become a parking lot to access the play area.

It's not clear whether a bond that fails to address many key issues at Greenacres School will be supported by Greenacres residents or the wider community.

The next meeting of the Board of Education will also be held when many are out of town, this time on August 24.

Former Dean Michael Gibbs Leaves Lasting Impact on Scarsdale High School

deangibbs2Anyone who has met Dean Michael Gibbs will likely note his warm smile and jolly disposition. Gibbs has been a dean of counseling at Scarsdale High School for over 30 years. "Dean Gibbs has been pivotal in my high school career thus far," noted rising Junior student Emma Cahaly. "He has not only helped me to get to know the high school, but he is also such a supportive mentor." Many of Gibbs' students echo the same sentiments, pointing out his welcoming approach to the incoming freshman and his desire to cultivate relationships with each of his 300 students. Gibbs finished his final year at the high school this past year (2016-17), and he has retired effective the end of the school year.

Gibbs' impact on the Scarsdale community is palpable. Besides providing a mentor for students to talk to, Gibbs has created an atmosphere of meaningful relationships and respect through his Civic Education program. Civic Education, commonly known as "Civ Ed," is a mentoring program between upperclassmen advisors and freshmen students. Dean Gibbs takes a hands-on approach with Civ Ed, ensuring that the group creates a cohesive community that supports one another. "Civ Ed has changed my high school experience and my view on high school in general," mentioned rising Senior Lily Steckel. "Dean Gibbs has done such an amazing job creating a community in the school where I feel comfortable. It is so easy to feel alone in a school this big." It is clear to see how much Dean Gibbs' students have learned from him. However, I was curious to know what Gibbs has learned from his experience at Scarsdale. As I had the chance to sit down with him and ask this question, Gibbs said he has learned that "this extraordinarily gifted student body has most of the answers they need within themselves, and if they trust themselves to ponder those answers they will find them." Gibbs also mentioned that this idea is easier said than done. "Ignorance frightens you. And what you don't know scares you. And things outside of your control scare you." This acute awareness of the minds of high school students contributes to Dean Gibbs' success as a counselor.

When I asked what his plans are for retirement, he said that he will travel with his wife. But first, he hopes to "let the alarm clock ring on the first day of the school year, hit snooze, and go back to sleep." This luxury is well deserved for the many years of impactful contributions to Scarsdale students and faculty. As the counseling department loses its oldest member, a new face will join the team of deans. Dean Aaron Mooney, previously a Senior Assistant director for regional enrollment at Miami University of Ohio, will replace Michael Gibbs in the fall. Mooney was a school counselor at Bishop Chatard High School in Indiana prior to working at Miami of Ohio.

Gibbs' presence at the High School next year will be greatly missed by his students and colleagues. His enthusiastic approach to learning and forming relationships within the high school set him apart from a conventional counselor. When asked what advice he would give to his students for the coming years, Gibbs said that "If you stop and think, you've got it. At least that's what I think. And that's a cool thing to have learned from you guys." Finally, Dean Gibbs added this remark to end our conversation: "People ask me all the time, because I work in a high school, are you afraid for the future of our country? And I say no, not at all. I am confident that if these kids are going to be our leaders, then we have nothing to worry about."

School Board Gives Administration Approval to Move Forward with a Massive Addition to Greenacres School

GAJuly12Ending years of debate, the Scarsdale School administration won the support of the school board for their recommendation for an expansive renovation and addition at Greenacres School at their July 6 meeting. The proposal for a tax neutral $64.8 million bond offering targeted for a vote in December 2017 will include $34 million for a renovation and expansion at Greenacres and $29 million for district wide upgrades.

District architects presented revised floor plans for the Greenacres School which would extend right to the sidewalk on Sage Terrace and Huntington Avenue. The last iteration of the plans had included the addition of three classrooms on Putnam Road. However, this new plan calls for the addition of four classrooms beyond the gym on Huntington Avenue instead. A 3,000 square foot learning commons, an 1,800 square foot multipurpose room and a kitchen would be added on the corner of Huntington Avenue and Sage Terrace, engulfing and expanding the newer multi-purpose room. The estimated cost for the work at Greenacres is $34 million. Though no designs or elevations were shown, the architects said that the look of the building would reflect the architectural elements of the current building.

The new renovation schematic was posted on the district's website at the eleventh hour – on the night before the July 6 meeting. Residents had little time to evaluate it or debate the merits of this very large addition to the school before the meeting the following morning. It was highly unusual to consider a project of this size at a July meeting of the board when many are out to town. Several of the speakers as well as the League of Women Voters asked for more time to study the plans but in the end the Board opted to move forward without affording time for community input.

The July 6th proposal addressed parents concerns about safety by including $1.5 million for trailers to be used to house students where needed during the renovation. Roger Smith, principal of BBS said these trailers could be used to accommodate up to eight classrooms or for other activities like gym or lunch.

The balance of the bond, or about $29 million, will fund infrastructure work at the other schools, most rated priority 1 or 2 on a recent district-wide facilities survey done by BBS. Items to be included are air handlers in classrooms, boilers, roofs, upgrades for ADA compliance, removal of asbestos tile, electrical upgrades and more. The administration to did not provide a comprehensive list of which projects would be funded at each school

A new item is security vestibules at all district buildings – which cost only $708,000 – a negligible amount of the overall bond. This new proposal eliminates the addition of lunchrooms and kitchens at Edgewood, Fox Meadow and Heathcote which received little enthusiasm from the community.

Safety: Hagerman and Mattey sought to answer many of the objections raised by the community and the board about risk to the children during the proposed renovation. They assured parents that all NYS safety guidelines would be followed and that there would be regular testing of the building during lead and asbestos abatement. They said that both BBS and the construction management firm have managed billions of dollars of school construction.

New vs. Renovation: The two attempted to respond to residents who asked for a long term analysis of the costs of a new school vs. a renovation by providing several analyses of the net present value of scenarios at varying inflation and discount rates. The analysis assumed a cost of $800 a square foot for the new building, a number that some claim is far above the cost of current school construction projects. In addition, Greenacres resident David Schwartz who works in finance took a look at the analysis and found that it was wrong. Mattey admitted that he had graduated from business school 20 years ago and said he would need to correct the numbers which vastly overstated the differential between a new and renovated school. However, even without an accurate analysis of the cost of a new school vs. a renovation, the School Board voted to approve the renovation.

On the issue of tax neutrality, Dr. Hagerman concluded that the board did not favor a bond that would raise school taxes and therefore limited his proposal to a $64.8 million bond referendum that would not raise taxes. He argued that building a new school at Greenacres would preclude the district from taking care of a lengthy list of facilities items "that must be addressed to avoid code violations, provide safer and healthier building environments and upgrade aging building heating, electrical, plumbing and roofing systems." He continued, "To not include these items in a bond issue would jeopardize not the integrity of our buildings but also the future instructional initiatives which must be funded through the general budget."

Hagerman also downplayed the importance of the learning environment saying, "21st century learning is 99% about the teachers. Though the space supports it, we are talking about the teachers. This is a secondary concern."


Public Comments:

During the public comments period, Tony Corrigio of Greenacres said, "I think there are two ways to avoid civil war here. If you pursue renovation get the kids out of the building. Three years in trailers? Are they safer there? It costs some money, maybe $4-5 million. And don't say there's not enough money when there was money for kitchens and cubbies in other schools to get everyone to vote for the bond." Turning to the evaluation of the cost of a new building he said, "You know what they say about financial analysis... garbage in garbage out. $60 million for a new building ... that $810 per square foot. It's unsubstantiated and bogus. Dr. Hagerman and BBS are compromised. Get another architect to do a proposal. Get real answers from real experts. It's a $45 million renovation with kids in the trailers. This is a 100 year decision to be made. Make sure that your priority is these kids."

Harriet Sobol said, "Those with and without children have the same position. I don't know anything about finance but I do know something about education: we are missing an opportunity to educate people about the difference between when our children went to school and today."

Mona Longman remarked, "My friend is a real estate broker and she tells me that suddenly all of the houses in Greenacres are coming on the market. Having meeting during July 4 when many are out of town and the next meeting in August is not right. The school is landlocked and now you are increasing the footprint even more. It was 8-10 feet from the road and it's even closer now. This is a neighborhood and there is no setback! What is this going to look like?"

Board Remarks:
When the Board was given a chance to pose questions, Natbony asked more questions about the cost differential of a new school vs. a renovation, saying, "Is it $5 million or $20 million, that's what I need to know."

Art Rublin asked why some of the classrooms in the proposed project would be far smaller than in the plan for Option B proposed by former district architects KG&D. Roger Smith replied saying that the minimum state requirements for a renovation are 900 square feet for a kindergarten classroom and 770 square feet for upper grades. He explained that the new classrooms would be 800 square feet.

Scott Silberfein asked how long the renovation would take and Smith estimated 26 months, spanning three summers. He said they moved the new classrooms to Huntington Avenue so that the existing classrooms on Putnam Road would not be affected during the construction.

Smith was also asked if the estimate of $800 a square foot for a new school could be high. He defended that figure saying there would be costs to demolish the old building and re-grade the site for fields.

Questioned about closing Huntington Avenue, Dr. Hagerman said he reviewed a legal opinion from the Village Attorney and said the matter would have to be presented to the state transportation committee and then be passed by both the state assembly and state senate. He said that these requests are not often approved.

Asked about drop off and pick up, parking and traffic, Smith said they had moved the construction off Putnam Road where he believed the children were dropped off and picked up. He said these issues needed further study.

Lee Maude asked for a better understanding of the energy performance contracts and it was explained that the district spends the funds on energy improvement initiatives like solar panels and achieves savings down the road from lower energy bills.

Nina Cannon asked if the Greenacres project would include the replacement of sanitary piping, steam heating and electric and was told that these would "not be touched in this renovation. They are not in the bond project." She also inquired about the status of a sustainability committee than had been formed in the spring. She also asked Dr. Hagerman, "Can we do a separate bond for air conditioning?"

At the conclusion of the discussion, Board members were asked to give their views on authorizing the district to move forward with the renovation plan. Six out of the seven gave Hagerman the green light.

Pam Fuehrer said that the plans met the district's objectives for educational excellence and adequacy and said she did not favor going above tax neutrality. She said , "Frankly I think It would be irresponsible not to support the recommendation to include all of the priorities for health and safety in this bond."

Nina Cannon said, "I support the administration's proposal. It has been proven from a financial standpoint and allows us to maintain all of our buildings. Of course I am concerned about safety, lighting and design but I support going down this path. "

Lee Maude emphasized that the Board has been listening and that she was "impressed by the change in design." She said, "I worked with KG&D and usually schools are built because of enrollment issues. I have not seen buildings torn down because of age. Teachers' relationships with our students are most important. It's no surprise that I accept your recommendation."

Art Rublin was the lone dissenter, saying "I am not there yet. I am not comfortable having this meeting during the day in July. I am concerned about rushing the process more than we need to. There are questions about classroom size, questions about drop off pick-up and parking ; these are important concerns. I think that the school building as proposed would be a better building than it is now – and I think that there are a lot of positives."

Chris Morin was in Iceland but gave Bill Natbony a letter to read in support of the renovations. He said that the board had previously voted to explore renovations and the facts they received support that decision. He said, "The renovation will exceed the needs of the students."

Scott Silberfein, who was elected Vice President of the board prior to the meeting concurred with the others, and said, "Me too. We can work on traffic, safety and parking later on. I am confident that we need to continue to pursue the process. A renovated Greenacres building will be educationally exceptional."

Newly elected Board President Bill Natbony summed it up, saying, "The District has substantial needs. This gives priority to the needs of Greenacres and accounts for other needs. There has to be a pressing need to exceed tax neutrality. Our architects say we don't need a new building. There remain implementation issues. What construction will be done while kids are in the schools? Should we look into moving them? I don't see a December vote set in stone. We should move forward with a bond and as a community we should come together and support the decision."

Parents with children in the school were surprised at the speed of the process and pressed the Board for more time to resolve many issues. Paulina Schwartz said, "This is renovation plan number four and the size of the addition keeps growing. It is the worst plan so far. If you think it is charming you don't go out to the property line and cover the building. You end up with a 100 year-old building with old lead pipes, old air handlers and no place for drop off and pickup. This is monstrous and it will be ugly. I was offended by the FAQ's. This is the largest renovation project the district has ever undertaken with the youngest kids in the oldest building. The safest way is with the kids outside the building. Where is the parking? Drop off and pick up? Where is the plan? The parents of GA don't want this plan. This is no better than what we have now."