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League Asks Questions About the Proposed 2017 School Bond

questionmarkThe following questions were posed by Mary Beth Evans and Linda Doucette Ashman from the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale to the Board of Education at their September 11, 2017 meeting:

The League of Women Voters of Scarsdale is a nonpartisan political organization that promotes informed and active participation of citizens in government, and we only take a stand on issues after careful member study, discussion and consensus. It is with our League principles and process in mind that the LWVS School Bond Study Committee seeks clarification on the bond process in raising the following questions:

In General
• When will the community learn what educational values and fiscal assumptions are being used to prioritize which items are included in the bond proposal?

On the Greenacres School Project

1. When will the community hear the explanation of the educational value of the project, including:
• What educational needs it will address;
• How the project will support the District's educational goals, as defined in A Scarsdale Education for Tomorrow 2.0; and
• In what ways it will serve as "the model for the 21st-century and beyond" for other District elementary schools?

2. When will the community also hear the value explanations for specific project decisions, including:
• How proposed spatial plans account for the unreliability of demographic projections beyond five years out;
• The educational rationale for the size of the proposed classrooms, which are smaller than current National standards;
• The rationale for the size of the proposed cafeteria and kitchen spaces;
• How the cafeteria will also serve as a "Learning Commons," and what this means in the elementary school context; and
• What opportunities exist for substantive changes to the design and floor plan presented on August 24th, based on committee and other community input?

3. When will the community hear proposed plans to address specific issues raised in discussions, including:
• Plans for new lunch program supported by the Greenacres School community, as well as logistics of food delivery, trash storage, and trash removal;
• Plans for student drop off and pick up; and parking;
• The results of the Huntington Avenue traffic study and whether the Board plans to pursue the partial closure of Huntington Avenue; and
• Whether the Board intends to seek either LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or New York CHPS (Healthy, High-Performance School) certification for the Greenacres project;

4. When will the community hear the rationale for excluding certain items from the proposed renovation, for example:
• Replacement of major infrastructure items that have exceeded their expected useful life by multiple decades, such as piping, and whether new pipes might obviate the need to maintain filters on the six water fountains found to have exceeded EPA action level limits for lead; and
• The Installation of air conditioning into new but not existing instructional spaces.

Regarding Other School Building Infrastructure Projects

1. When will the community hear:
• The strategic vision and rationale for the decision to use approximately half of the proposed $60+M bond to address facilities work on buildings said to be very well maintained, as well as the rationale for what items were not included in the proposed bond;
• The complete list of other school building spatial needs and the plan to address them in the future;
• The plan and timeline for adding air conditioning to all building instructional spaces district-wide;
• The rationale for addressing individual building infrastructure maintenance needs separately and in isolation from addressing the spatial and air conditioning needs of each of the schools;
• The specific charge given to the Sustainability Committee, its membership, and whether it will provide input on the Greenacres design process and the projects to be included in the Energy Performance Contract prior to the Board's adoption of a final bond resolution.

Concerning Board's Timeline and Schedule of Upcoming Meeting Dates

When will the community hear:
• The final list of bond projects and total amount of the bond issue;
• The opportunities for community members and community groups to comment on the complete bond package prior to the Board's adoption of a final bond resolution;
• The opportunities for public comment on the results of the environmental impact study for the Greenacres School and other building projects;
• The Board's response to that community input; and
• At what meeting will the Board hold a full discussion regarding the proposed date of the bond vote?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Mary Beth Evans, Chair
LWVS School Bond Study Committee

Linda Doucette-Ashman and Janice Starr, Co-Presidents
League of Women Voters of Scarsdale

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