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A Response: What Really Happened at the Greenacres PTA Meeting on the New Construction

letter-to-the-editorThis letter to the editor was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Greenacres resident Kathy Stahler in response to an article about the PTA meeting at Greenacres on Wednesday night September 27:

Dear Editor:
I hope this reaches you with an open mind and a desire to create unity at a time when Greenacres needs it most. Your recent article on 10583 titled "Parents Express Concerns About Safety, Noise and Traffic Flow during Construction at Greenacres PTA Meeting" was extremely disappointing and surprisingly inaccurate. It was presented as factual minutes of the meeting and is far from that.

As a member of the PTA, I sat through that meeting for PTA members and did not hear the answers from the panel in the way described in this article. It is amazing what people can filter through their minds and what this publication is willing to publish as fact without verification. How does this help our community to become less contentious and less divisive? The leaders are doing nothing wrong here besides not doing exactly what each of the 20 different factions are asking them to do simultaneously. We will not all ever be 100 percent happy with the plans and some compromise is what will get our community the changes to the school we need and to a conclusion that will allow the community to exist as beautifully as it has for the last 6 years I have lived here. A few points that really stand out to me that need to be clarified from your article..

A PTA Meeting is always attended by the PTA Members- PARENTS/TEACHERS.... This is the title of the association. Why would others be able to attend? There were multiple Board of ED meetings and there will be more. This was a panel brought to the Greenacres Parents by the PTA Executive Committee and the Building Committee. When it goes back to the Board of Ed again, anyone can attend. Making this out to be a conspiracy theory to exclude is divisive and unnecessary. I cannot believe there was ill intent. This is not a good way to gain harmony and a healthy discussion between different sides. This does not help the community at all. On an aside, why does this need to be attended by the press at all? Publish the minutes when they are published.

The PTA said they were going to produce minutes and share their statement. This probably would have been something good to wait for before publishing this article. It is clear you just took people's word as to what was said and much of this is false. The way this is written is clearly a negative view of a very informative meeting where I believed many of the questions were answered. The questions that were not answered were absorbed and they talked of future discussion to properly address them. Why do they have to have all the answers right this moment? Why can't answers come as they move forward with the process? We are so far from this construction starting- If it ever does.

The complaints about the meeting ending abruptly are false as well. It was 9:30 and they said they would end the meeting at that time when the meeting commenced. I definitely couldn't stay there much later and wanted to hear everything as well. Extending into the night would have been ridiculous. There is another meeting to come in October, I believe. We can continue there.GreenacresSchool

The attacks on the PTA Leadership Team are entirely inappropriate. The behavior of a few individuals at the meeting was disgraceful. These are volunteers doing their best. They haven't gone to school to do this job and they are learning as they go the same as the rest of us. They stepped into a much more difficult moment than any other Executive Committee in the past. They organized the information session for all of us and got the right people in the room. They took our questions. They are not stopping anything from getting to us. They shared minutes to all the meetings they have had. They created a Building Committee that they believed included members from all different sides of the discussion. I am sure there were people left off this committee, but this was done because they had to have a manageable number of voices. It is also the job of these selected members to bring information back to the community as well— Preferably factual information...So, how are they failing us? It just seemed this was more of personal attack without any real reason? And others continue to hop on this fun bandwagon. Is it just a few in the room who have obvious personal feelings against some of the leaders? Let's keep these personal feelings out of this and lighten up on the PTA attacks. They didn't speak except for the first statement (which didn't include anything said in this article). Why are they made out to be so controversial? I just don't understand what this gets any of us. Let's work together and they can be advocates. They have young children in the school. They want what you want but can't hear you when you are personally attacking, posting nasty comments and putting the blame for a long-standing and very complex situation on them. Let's take a breath and make the assumption we are all working for the good of this neighborhood and for our children. If we start from there amazing things will happen.

Traffic and Parking- The title of this article is even an issue, they have not come to final decisions on Parking and Traffic yet. This is all still in discussion. Once again, we are ahead in the planning, everything can't be done all at once. They stated this was a next step. Did whoever you spoke to not hear this?

Closed windows- They stated that they would add air conditioning to these rooms if they have to close windows. They are currently doing this at the High School. Is this a negative? I just don't get why this is? These classrooms will be cooler and the kids will not be "Soaking wet". This was quite the piece to leave out.

Overall- No one was "Ignored". When people got too aggressive or made personal attacks, they were asked to be seated and others were give a chance to speak. When people were cordial and adult they were listened to, when they were childish and nasty, they were not. This is the way the world works and I am not sure why any of this behavior should be tolerated.

Staging areas on the asphalt- This was true, not great and they mentioned this was not in any way set and they could work to adjust as they move closer to the construction.

Modular Classrooms were discussed, but nothing was concluded. It was mentioned that in the past, they had been used when the classrooms were not useable not to empty an entire useable school. They were very open to this option for replacing areas that became unusable and this could include extreme noise as well.

The Bond- No one said the money would go away. Please correct this one for sure as this is a blatant lie. They said it would go back to further discussion to try to get the bond approved. This is another personal attack by an individual on the PTA. I am not sure why the PTA continues to take the brunt of this, but once again this does none of us any good and you should watch what you publish.

I agree with the timing/construction delay questions not being answered clearly and believe they owe us more answers. There is plenty of time for this and we can continue this discussion.

Sound and Air Monitors- Why are these being seen as a negative? They will be there to protect our kids and the construction will respond to what our kids need. Maybe they are overkill, but I am truly ok with that and can't imagine others aren't as well.

To reiterate, I am in no way stating my opinion in this response, but asking for the reporting that is being done under the guise of fact to be fact If you want to do an opinion piece, go for it, but that is not what this was written up as. Many of the people responding to this piece did not attend the meeting and are now forging ahead with opinions that are based off false information. Give people the information to allow them to make their own decisions. Not everyone can see through the opinion to the fact especially when the facts are not there. Let's help get Greenacres back to a place of unity. I truly believe the intentions are all good, so let's head into meetings and conversations with that in mind. No one wants our children to be at risk, no one believes they have all the answers. So let's work together to get this to a place that we can all feel comfortable with and lighten the personal attacks.

Thanks for your understanding, your ear and, for hopefully, helping get Greenacres back to where it was— I really miss it.

Best,
Kathy Stahler

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