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votingmachineHere is information on voter registration for the upcoming school budget vote/school board election for the Scarsdale Union Free School District on May 15, 2018.

Voter Eligibility for the Tuesday, May 15 Budget Vote and School Board Election. 

To be eligible to vote in a school election you:

* Must be registered with the Westchester County Board of Elections to vote in general elections; OR
* Must be registered with the School District’s Board of Registration, or have voted in a Scarsdale school election within the last four years.

Local voter registration for the May 15 school election will take place on Tuesday, May 8, from 4:00 - 9:00 p.m., and Thursday, May 10, from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m., in the Board of Education offices (2 Brewster Road).

Voter Qualifications for Registration:
* Must be a United States citizen; and
* Must be a resident of the School District for at least 30 days preceding the vote: and
* Must be at least 18 years old by May 15, 2018.

Voter information is also available online on the District website ( under Site Shortcuts.

For additional information, contact the District Clerk, Honore Adams, at 914-721-2410, or

kidssocialmediaWhile social media has been around for over two decades, parents in Scarsdale and beyond are constantly grappling with how to best raise their kids in a tech-obsessed digital world. For this reason, the Scarsdale PT Council put together an important program on Wednesday, April 18, at Scarsdale High School, which began with a discussion of Scarsdale schools’ soon-to-be-introduced social media policy, followed by a talk about raising confident kids in the digital age.

To start the morning, Jerry Crisci, Director of Instructional Technology and Innovation and Co-Director of the Center for Innovation for Scarsdale Schools, discussed Scarsdale’s existing technology guidelines. He went on to summarize the school system’s new policy (currently in draft form on the Scarsdale School website), which focuses on social media as it pertains to the school community. Some of the big ideas introduced include: taking responsibility for your digital footprint, separating the use of technology for personal and professional use, respecting copyright and following fair use guidelines when communicating via social media, and being vigilant JerryCrisciJerry Crisci, Director of Instructional Technology and Innovationwhen it comes to sharing personal information.

“It’s a responsible use policy, instead of an acceptable use policy, ” Crisci said. “Everyone has to take responsibility for their use of social media.”

Next, educator, motivational speaker, and author of the Amazon bestseller Girls Just Want to Have Likes, Laurie Wolk, gave an informative talk about the challenges parents and children face in today’s 24/7-connected world and how we can best address them. She began with a story about a high school girl who tried out for her school’s field hockey team, and unfortunately did not make the cut. In the “old” days, the story would have ended there. However, in today’s world the girl was subjected to constant reminders of what she was missing: triumphant wins showcased via Instagram, team-bonding sessions caught on Snapchat, and more.

“FOMO (fear of missing out) is the new reality,” Wolk said. “Times have changed. Social media compounds everything.”

Wolk went on to say that instead of fearing social media, parents must embrace it since it’s not going anywhere. She advised the audience to see social media as a good thing, since it’s a widely used and accepted form of communication and a way to gain insight into our children’s lives. However, she also stressed the need to set limits, help preserve our kids’ self-esteem, and teach them to monitor their usage and be aware of the implications of sharing via social media.

“We must use social media as a reminder to provide opportunities for kids to live in real life and help them build crucial skills like resilience, empathy, and self-regulation,” Wolk explained.

girlsjustwanttohavelikesAnother way she recommends that parents monitor social media is by creating a family media agreement. This kind of contract sets rules for technology usage in the household, puts those rules in writing, and helps kids to understand the reasons behind it.

“Kids need rules. They crave boundaries to bump up against,” she explained. “But they want to know why.”

Wolk also emphasized the importance of role modeling the behavior we want to see in order to create confident kids. As parents, we have to be aware of when we are looking at our own Facebook feeds and scrolling through text messages.

“With all of the digital distractions, we forget how to role model,” LoriWolkAuthor and Social Media Expert Laurie WolkWolk said. Not only do we have to tell our kids the right way to act, we have to show them.”

For more information about Laurie Wolk, visit her website for more information.

MarkedTreesTuesday’s meeting of the Scarsdale Board of Trustees meeting featured well over an hour of public commentary on a variety of issues, ranging from trees and water rates, to property assessment, the village budget and historic preservation.

Cooper Clear Cutting
Zhen Zuo (Cooper Road) stated, “My new neighbor at 12A Cooper has cut 20 tall trees… Most…were a hundred years old (and) we bought (our) house because we loved the woods...“ She continued, “The trees were at least 50 or 60 feet away from the (neighbor’s) swimming pool. I called the engineering department; I was told that they had a permit… and there was nothing we could do. Why did the engineering department provide a permit? … When the (village) staff went to the site… did they consider the impact on neighbors? No, they only wanted to collect $1,000… We are paying $100,000 in property taxes, but the village isn’t protecting our rights.” Hu went on, “If people can cut trees that easily, the character of Scarsdale won’t exist… the replacement tree requirement for these 100-year old trees is only three feet… How many years will it take for (them) to grow that tall?”

Library Campaign Gets a Boost
Dara Gruenberg (Hampton Road) followed, representing the Scarsdale Library Capital Campaign Committee and Friends of the Scarsdale Library. She announced, “Thanks to three generous donors, every dollar now given to the capital campaign is doubled. We hope this challenge match will encourage every resident, at any level of giving, to participate in our campaign, joining over 425 donors who have already contributed.” She continued, “It is gratifying to experience the tremendous support of our library’s improvement project that will launch us to meet and even, perhaps, surpass our commitment to the village in time for construction to begin later this spring… Please visit the library’s website and click on the campaign page for easy ways to give. Every dollar counts for the match, so you can double your impact.”

Speaking of Trees
Bob Berg (Tisdale Road) followed up on Ms. Hu’s comments by stating, “I learned of this tree massacre this morning and it was really a horrifying story. This is exactly the type of destruction of trees we need to prevent.” He went on, “This conduct is permitted under the existing tree law and under the new proposed tree law… They did what’s required under the law, they applied for a permit and they’re planting replacement trees… And, yet, they’re clear-cutting this land… and they destroyed this lot for no reason… and trashed the whole neighborhood… You have to deal with this in the land use boards and the planning process, and bag this new tree law.”

Issues For Board of Assessment Review
Berg then changed gears to discuss property assessment procedures as a member of board of assessment review. He reminded the public, “If people want to grieve their property taxes... they have one opportunity a year to do so, and that comes on the third Tuesday in June… They must come to our board to present their grievance in order to file a claim in court, if they don’t agree with what we do with their grievance…”

He then stated his concerns about the board’s staffing and disappointment that Jane Curley was not reappointed after her term ended in September 2017. Berg read an email sent by the three remaining BAR members to the mayor and trustees, which emphasized Curley’s qualifications and prior service, and questioned the qualifications of new appointees Richard Pinto and Anna Karpman. He said, “By no means, do we cast any aspersions on Mr. Pinto or Ms. Karpman, who we expect are exceptionally civic-minded and, undoubtedly, well qualified for many other boards and councils in Scarsdale. But, the BAR requires specific qualifications that they simply do not possess at this time. We respectfully request that Jane Curley be reappointed to the BAR effective immediately and that a qualified replacement for Paul Sved, who has retired from the BAR, be sought as expeditiously as possible.”

Shutting Down the Proposed Water Rate Increase
Brice Kirkendall-Rodriguez (Fox Meadow Road) then came to the podium to discuss the proposed village water rate hikes. He began, “I was quite dismayed to discover that our recent water rate changes make it less expensive to consume excessive amounts of water… This year’s water rate increase, of over 12 percent for the first 50 units of water used and a rate decrease of more 3 percent for units of water above the first 50, has effectively raised the price for those that conserve water and rewarded the most excessive consumers of water with a rate reduction.” He noted that he didn’t object to the primary purpose behind the increase but felt that, “…by reducing the excess rate, there is an added shift of cost burden from those who use the most water to those that use the least.”

After researching the issue, Kirkendall-Rodriguez concluded that, “NYC has actually not raised water rates in the last three years,” which, he continued, raised the question, “What would possess the village to blame NYC for a water rate change that is entirely of its own discretion? The only explanation… is that the village… wanted to find some kind of relief for residents who were particularly vocal last fall when they saw high bills for their summer water usage.” He continued, “However, not all excessive water use is accidental. Much of it is by choice, to enjoy green lawns and in-ground swimming pools... we ought to own the fact that, we may recycle our food scraps, but we are probably one of the heaviest per-capital consumers of water in the region.”

Kirkendall-Rodriguez then went on to propose solutions to effectively manage usage and costs. “(First,) let’s fix our water rates… most communities in our neighboring areas have moved to a multi-tier pricing scheme… (Second,) let’s expand our guidance on how to conserve water… Finally… for the homeowners who want to continue to use significant amounts of water, without having to pay high excess water rates, a well may be a viable option… In the meantime, I beg you not to inadvertently create a moral hazard by reducing the excess water rate in this budget.”

Next Reval?
Jane Curley (Hamilton Road) then brought up the possibility of another property revaluation in the next couple of years. She said, “The Ryan revaluation was two years ago and New York State does recommend doing one every four years… If we were to do one every four years as recommended, that should already be being considered and talked about. Given that all our taxes effectively went up a significant amount and given that a lot of people were dissatisfied last time, I think there’s going to be a lot of interest in this and I think people are going to be very eager to hear about what the plans are. I would expect to see a tentative timeline or… a proactive decision to delay it beyond 2020.”

Two Cents on the Proposed Village Budget
Bob Salvaggio (Rochambeau Road) commented on the draft village budget, the inability for homeowners to deduct more than $10,000 in local property tax, and the village’s response to “this huge de facto increase in our property tax rates.” He said, “This year’s budget could almost have been cobbled together by applying a straight edge to the trend of previous years’ budgets… there’s no mention at all of tax reform, property tax deductibility or the like… There seems to be an inability… to respond to the new reality of budgeting in an era of significantly increased effective property tax rates.”

Salvaggio went on, “I had hoped to see some thought applied to cutting department budgets… Given much ink spilled over the role of union contracts, underfunded pension liabilities, etc., I would have liked to have seen a discussion of potential cost-saving alternatives to the way the village currently provides essential services.” He also volunteered that he and other members of the Voters’ Choice Party are discussing the feasibility of creating a “501(c)3 community chest” funded by tax-deductible donations from residents to cover the cost of recreation and sports programs, the library and social services (similar to the Teen Center and Maroon and White), and reduce the need for the village to fund these initiatives through property taxes. He welcomed community input on the idea.

Bob Harrison (Fox Meadow Road) later commented that the village should eliminate a proposed $100,000 allocation to review parks and recreation activities/facilities. “(It) is ill-founded… there’s no reason the board has to approve that… we can do some nice surveys ourselves… $100,000 can be used more wisely.” He also reiterated his desire for the village to take action on building a comfort station at the middle school. “The mayor has tried to work with the school board… I’m urging this board to take action… if you have to pass a resolution to buy a small piece of land (then do it).”

Bob Berg followed by discussing budget provisions for Scarsdale’s roads. “I have been calling for several years for an updated road survey or study… (and) was surprised that one had been completed… on November 28, 2017… (and) 50 percent of our roads are in poor or fair condition.” He continued, ”The budget for the coming year doesn’t do much to move the ball... It’s providing maybe a million and a half… to do road repair. We’ve never making progress on getting our roads back into drivable shape… I urge you to look into some sort of bonding mechanism in the coming year.“

In responding to the comments on the budget, Trustee Carl Finger said, “Based on our efforts… and the priorities that we’ve worked on as a board and with staff… it’s a successful budget.” He continued, “(With regard to) the idea of a nonprofit, the board is already aware of that, staff is aware of that… and we’re looking into it. (With regard to) health insurance… I wanted to point out that it’s not that we have certain health insurance plans, and whatever the rates are, we accept them. We have discussed with staff what the various options are… The increase (in budget) is reflective of not only the increase (in cost), but that the options available are not better or less expensive. “ Further, he stated, “Department heads are not tasked with reducing expenses… but they are tasked with taking a hard look at budgets to make decisions to save money or change the way services are delivered to be more efficient.”

With regard to the water rate increase, Finger said, “With respect to the water rate… we did consider the concept of relative increase of overage vs. base rate. We did discuss, specifically, the idea of tiered pricing… and its something we’re thinking about going forward, but we didn’t do it this year. We are aware of conservation concerns and are interested in that.” Kirkendall-Rodriguez later said that, since the budget wasn’t yet finalized, he didn’t see any reason not to retain the water rate structure used in 2017.

Asking for Village Priorities and Long-Term Plans
Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez (Fox Meadow Road) asked how the village will address priorities for 2018-19. She said, “I encourage the BOT and the mayor to involve all Scarsdale residents in determining… the priorities at village hall. I urge you to have an open hearing… I also recommend that you run a survey… I can attest to the richness of information that you can find, and the data would be very useful to village personnel… to design and implement budgets and long-term financial and capital plans.”

She continued, “In your first year, Mr. Mayor, there have been countless meetings and discussions devoted to trees, sanitation pick-up and recycling. Yet, what about other important village matters? What about having a fair and well-run property revaluation so that residents are taxed fairly… What about paving the 50 percent of the roads that… are only in fair or poor condition? What about reducing the number of aggressive drivers, especially around our schools and school buses?”

Kirkendall-Rodriguez also encouraged village trustees and administrators to address the recent federal tax code changes and macroeconomic factors in finalizing the budget and “in creating and implementing a long-term financial model and plan for our village.” She went on to say, “It has come to my attention that Scarsdale Village has not developed a long-term financial model… This is the time to be thinking about different macroeconomic stresses and how they could impact the village's fiscal stability.“

She concluded by discussing staffing of village boards and committees, and expressing support for Jane Curley. “I often hear… that it is so difficult to find volunteers for councils, boards and committees… If it is really true, that you reach out to a wide variety of residents… and have a hard time finding enough volunteers, why then would you not reappoint a very talented, decent, ethical and quantitative volunteer such as Jane Curley?”

In a Pickle Over Courts
Bob Harrison (Fox Meadow Road) finished the public comment session by expressing his unhappiness about lack of public notice for an upcoming Parks and Recreation Council meeting about pickleboard courts. “I’ve been a strong proponent that we need to let our community know about what is going on (with regard to) Parks and Recreation. There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be an agenda posted and be on the website.” He then went on to state his opposition to converting or sharing existing tennis courts for purposes of pickleball. “I’m totally opposed to any pickleboards being placed on the tennis courts… Why we would want to have disruptive lines on these courts is beyond me,” he said. He also pointed out a discrepancy between the cost of youth tennis permits as listed in the Scarsdale Parks and Recreation Department spring/summer 2018 brochure and the cost listed on the village’s website, and urged the village to accept the lower rate listed in the brochure, should anyone request it.

David shoveling 5 6 17 eventTo celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 21, 2018, the Village of Scarsdale is making high quality food scrap compost available to all residents for FREE on a first come, first served basis! Simply bring a pail, bucket, or other receptacle to the Scarsdale Recycling Center, 110 Secor Rd., from 8:00 AM until 3:00 PM on Saturday and take some compost home – last year’s event was well attended, so arrive early!

The food scrap compost can be used in one’s vegetable garden, flower beds, or to enrich turf in place of chemical fertilizers.

New Food Scrap Program participants are strongly encouraged – it’s easy and results in a meaningful reduction to the solid waste stream, which results in less trash incineration in the Hudson River Valley. Not only will volunteers be available to answer questions to help you get started, but we’ll also have food scrap recycling starter kits available for $20. In addition, extra three-gallon compostable bags for your countertop bin will be available for $2 per roll, and the larger 13-gallon bags will be available for $5 per roll.

Get your supplies soon because a new curbside food scrap pick-up service is being launched this spring! Details concerning this new Sanitation Department service will be distributed to residents in the next few weeks – stay tuned!

The high-quality food scrap compost being given away in celebration of Earth Day is provided pursuant to the successful Village of Scarsdale residential Food Scrap Recycling program, which was developed by the Ad-hoc Committee on Food Scrap Recycling, comprised of Village staff and dedicated resident volunteers. Over 210,000 pounds – or roughly 100 tons – of food scraps have been recycled since the beginning of the program in January 2017!Stephanie S scooping

For any questions about the April 21st compost giveaway event or about the food scrap recycling program, please contact or call the Public Works Department at 914-722- 1150.

WoodyCrouch4Those who claim that the Scarsdale’s Nominating Committees only select longtime volunteers and Scarsdale insiders will be pleased to learn about the nomination of Woody Crouch by the Scarsdale School Board Nominating Committee (SBNC). Though he has lived here for 40 years and many do know him, he’s not the guy you would find at your PTA meeting. In fact, when I received notification of his nomination, my reaction was “Woody? … Woody who?” I’ve been publishing Scarsdale10583 for 10 years and have lived in Scarsdale for 28 years but had never crossed paths with Mr. Crouch.

In order to rectify that situation and find out why Woody wanted to run for the School Board, I scheduled a breakfast with him. While everyone else was enjoying an indoor snow day, Woody and I were huddled over coffee at the Parkway Diner where he shared his amazing life story.

Turns out, Woody grew up in a place that is about as far from Scarsdale as you can get. He spent his early years in Pineville, Louisiana, a town with a population of only 5,000 people. He told me that he’s been working almost everyday of his life, and it all began with a paper route when he was 10. In order to secure the newspapers, he had to ride his bike across a bridge over Red River and bring them back to Pinefield to deliver, some on dirt roads. At the time, papers sold for a nickel each.

As a student, he was always strong in math and ended up going to a larger high school in Alexandria, Louisiana. Not sure what to do upon graduation, he decided to attend a small Baptist college where he worked in the bookstore to support himself. His father was a veteran and spoke to the local Congressman about giving Woody an appointment to West Point – but when another student took the only available spot, Crouch was offered a place at the Kings Point Merchant Marine Academy in Great Neck, where he enrolled in the engine program and emerged an engineer.

From there, he spent a year at sea on a small cargo ship called the SS Harry Culberth and then came back to New York, where he landed a job at a naval architecture firm, designing the engine room of a destroyer.

Seeking a job with more security, Crouch walked into Con Edison headquarters at 350 Broadway and was hired on the spot. He spent seven years building a power plant and, from there, he got a job at the New York Power Authority, where he stayed for 30 years. During his tenure, he built New York State’s power infrastructure, negotiating with politicians and residents to allow major projects to extend through their neighborhoods.

Speaking about his ability to navigate controversy he said, “I would go into meetings where hundreds of people were up in arms about a power lines or plants in their communities, and by the end of the meeting no one was angry.” He managed large- scale installations on very tight deadlines, and was able to meet the schedules and get the jobs done on time.

Why does he want to serve on the Scarsdale School Board? Crouch says that he has lived in Scarsdale for 40 years and that his children attended the schools. He now has five grandchildren in the district, two in Edgewood, two in the middle schools and one in high school. He says, “I want to do the right thing for Scarsdale. I think I can make a difference.” With the schools district in the midst of plans for major renovations and infrastructure improvements, Crouch believes his knowledge of construction and engineering would be an asset to the Board of Education.

He also says he has an “understanding and respect for teachers, as his wife, two sisters and a brother were teachers. He said, “They are the most important part of the system,” and believes that we should “let our teachers be creative and use their strengths.”

Crouch continues to work as a consultant in the power field but has also found time for volunteers work in Scarsdale. He is known to many in town from his years on the Drake Edgewood Association, on the Scarsdale Neighborhood Association of Presidents (SNAP), as chair of the Edgewood Athletic Association and a coach for girls and boys basketball, soccer and softball teams. He is currently a Committee Member of Boy Scouts Troop 2 and a Merit Badge Counselor for Engineering, Energy, Citizenship in the Community and Family Life. He was on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of IHM CCD program and President of the U. S. Society on Dams.

Crouch’s grandson was born with Sturge Weber, a rare disease, and only lived for five months. This prompted Woody to get involved with Sturge-Weber Foundation where he served as the Chairman for six years and now serves as a Board member.

Even more striking than his depth of experience is his genuine willingness to listen. Crouch is open to many points of view, and eager to learn more about parents’ concerns and the challenges that face the Scarsdale Schools. His years of engagement with stakeholders statewide and his ability to forge agreements will serve him well if elected.

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