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mciver1This is a letter from Lee Road resident Lisa McIver to Village Planner Greg Cutler about the demolition of a house next door to her home:

Hello Greg: After waiting 6 months for the house (at 112 Lee Road) to be demolished they did it this Saturday - the day we left on vacation. Our neighbor luckily heard what was happening. The house was taken down with no water to hold the dust down AND worse the structure fell onto our property. It took down a row of 5-6 large arborvitae trees and broke the Belgium blocks lining our driveway.

Our houses are tight. This builder needs to be careful of our property. Today they piled the dumpster up and did not wet down the debris. Huge clouds of dust were over our property. We are away until Saturday so we haven’t seen it but I am so angry about the blatant disregard for our property and the unskilled workers.

Here is a photo of the dust coming from the demo … one worker and no water to hold down the dust. Our neighbor said our backyard looks awful with tons of dust covering our furniture, house and patio.

Who cleans this up? Will the town test it for asbestos? We come home Saturday and shouldn’t be returning to such a mess. Our house and windows will need to be power washed and cleaned. Trees will need to be replanted and the driveway repaired.mciver2

We will file a police report when we return. They need us to be home. Would you please check the scene tomorrow? The photos below show the workers on our property with the pieces of their demolition spilling over on our property.

Please help. Our neighborhood cannot handle such blatant disregard for our well-being and our property.

We look forward to quick action.

Thank you,

Lisa Lovisolo McIver
109 Lee Road

BacktoSchool 1This letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by the Restart Review Committe:

Dear Members of The Restart Committee, The Board of Education, and Key Scarsdale School Administrators,

After a little more than 1 day of receiving the Restart Plan and doing an initial review, 4 glaring inadequacies are evident in the critical areas of Safety, In-Person Learning, Improved Elearning, and Synchronous Streaming of Live Classes. Due to the extremely condensed parent review window this week, we need detailed answers from the Restart Committee to the following 4 items by 5 PM today, Wednesday, August 5th, 2020.

1) Safety – Please provide details on the following, since safety is the number 1 focus for reopening schools:

The mask wearing policy (we recommend 100% compliance), and the process for requesting and granting exemption to this policy

The specific PPE that Scarsdale Schools will provide to teachers (we recommend N95 equivalent masks and face shields)

The process for daily and weekly screening of students and faculty, the method of self-reporting potential known COVID-19 exposure and travel to areas on the NYS quarantine list or International travel, and tracking that appropriate quarantine has been implemented before a return to in-person school

A clearly illustrated workflow for a student required to quarantine under the hybrid plan, indicating how a student will switch from the hybrid model to full-time elearning, and then switch back to the hybrid learning model post-quarantine.

A clearly illustrated workflow for a sudden lockdown scenario, under the hybrid plan, indicating how all students will switch from the hybrid model to full-time E-learning, and then switch back to the hybrid learning model post-lockdown.
daily temperature checks, performed by a medical professional (self reporting is less accurate)

Transparency behind the decision to not explore the use of outdoor space, since many other districts are leveraging the fact that outdoor activities are definitely safer than indoor activities, and clarification of the hurdles, to determine if it is feasible to add an outdoor component at this late stage

The plan for COVID-19 testing - who will be tested, how frequently, which tests will be utilized, how will the tests be processed and results provided, what is the timeframe for creating the testing plan and ordering tests, since there is significant lead time for procurement, and how will testing be financed? 

2) In-Person Learning – The current Restart Plan for K-5 provides an inadequate amount of in-person learning, when compared to the plans of many peer districts, who will be providing 5 full days, and more detail is needed on how in-person academics will be prioritized for 6-12:

The Restart Plan must include 5 days of in-person learning for K-5 to meet or exceed the industry norm (including Edgemont, Byram Hills, Chappaqua, Bronxville, and Rye, as well as many other districts) for K-5 children, while also providing 6-12 with an in-person component.

For 6-12, core subjects (such as math and science) need to be given prioritization for in person learning, please provide the process for determining how the prioritization of academics will be determined, and how parents will be involved in this process

3) Improved E-learning – Please provide the list of improvements that will be made to E-learning, which is a critical component of any plan.

A strategic plan to improve E-learning must be created to address the issues from Spring of 2020 before school starts on September 8, 2020, including scheduling, accountability, teaching methods/strategies, and online testing. Many of these items were identified at the BOE Listening Session in July of 2020.

Clarification of how E-learning will remain synchronized with in-person learning, to support the scenario where students will switch between delivery methods, due to quarantine.

A plan to use established Learning Management System (LMS) , such as Blackboard or Canvas, to facilitate effective E-learning.

4) Synchronous Streaming of Live Classes – The decision to not support a synchronous broadcasting platform, such as Microsoft Teams, to allow students to attend live classes from home, causes an unacceptable level of productivity loss and puts Scarsdale in a less desirable position than its peer districts who will employ this type of technology platform.

A Restart Plan that does not contain a synchronous streaming component will be less effective than one that does, and many peer districts (such as Bronxville and Rye) are investing in these platforms, which are becoming the industry norm for highly desirable school districts.

Hybrid models provide more productive hours in front of a teacher if students can easily toggle between in-person learning in the physical school building which can also be accessed from home (frequently referred to as “livestreaming” in peer districts’ plans)
Switching between a hybrid model to a full-time online model is much more seamless when synchronous streaming is employed

We are excited to finally be brought into this process as key stakeholders and we look forward to creating a Restart Plan that appropriately positions Scarsdale as a top performing school district in Westchester, New York, and the United States.

Sincerely,

The Scarsdale Restart Plan Review Group, including:

Maria Asnis – child in K
Ilanit Blumenfeld- child in 5th
Beverley Caen- children in 8th and 12th
Linda Cavalier – children in 8th, 10th, and 12th
Shari Fayer – child in 2nd
Sammantha Furniss – children in 2nd and 4th
Kimberly Greene-Liebowitz – children in 7th and 9th
Jen Gross – children in 9th and 12th
Diane Gurden – children in 10th and 12th
Beth Heller Gelles – child in 10th
GiGi Heidbreders, children in 8th and 11th
Lena Kempe – children in 8th and 12th
Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez – children in 4th and 5th
Mark Koch- children in 5th and 12th
Xiaoxi (Nina) Liu – child in 3rd
Arek Meleletci – child in 10th
Roger Neustadt – children in 5th, 8th, and 10th
Jing Wei – children in 4th and 9th
Christine Weston – children in 4th and 7th
Natalie Yellin- children in 3rd and 5th
Stephen Zoota – children in 10th and 11th

votebymailThe risk is 'hiding in plain sight,' based on the US Constitution 12th Amendment, which has received very little attention since its last invocation in 1824. It provides a blueprint for how Trump might be re-elected even if he has fewer electoral votes and fewer popular votes than Biden. If there are not 270 electors chosen by January 6, 2021, the House of Representatives elects the President with 26 votes, with each state having only one vote. The current House has 26 states with Republican majorities.

Scarsdale resident Michael Otten is a former President of the Scarsdale School Board, and a co-founder of a non-partisan group of business and law school alumni called "Reform Elections Now." This association was formed two years ago with the objective to explore political innovations that could improve our democracy and make government work. The group runs a monthly education Zoom on election issues and they will discuss the problem described above at 5:00 pm, Tuesday 28 July, with free registration at A Constitutional Crisis Could be Coming: Why it could take until 2022 to resolve the 2020 election. You are invited to participate. Click here to register.

According to Otten, New York’s experience with absentee ballots has taught us that the state is not well positioned for the November 3rd election. Few of us realize the significant danger of a scenario playing out for this election that could invalidate our votes for Congressional and Presidential candidates. If there are delays, due to legal or administrative challenges to the November votes, which call in question the final count, we are likely to be in a position where we cannot declare a Presidential outcome by December 8, which, according to the National Conference of State Legislators, is the “Deadline for Resolving Election Disputes, [by which time] All state recounts and court contests over presidential election results must be completed...”* With a president warning of electoral fraud, and NY having very little experience with Vote-by-Mail, we might easily miss that date.

The impact occurs when a new Congress takes office on January 6, when the President of the Senate, Michael Pence, tabulates the Electoral votes. If no candidate has the requisite 270 electoral votes, the US Constitution 12th Amendment dictates that the President is elected by the House of Representatives with one vote per state. There are currently 26 states with Republican majorities. If New York, and other states, like Pennsylvania, have not yet finalized their votes by then, the election might no longer be based on popular or electoral vote.
There are things we can do to avoid this for Westchester, NY State and other jurisdictions that are not prepared for the onslaught of absentee ballots:

1. We should work now to improve the local Registration Rolls to reduce related challenges.

2. We should enlarge the Early Voting period to two weeks, as is already the case for some states. This might require the NY Legislature being called back into session.

3. We should process ballots as soon as they are received, resolving administrative or interpretation issues in advance of counting votes.

4. Although we might want to start counting the ballots when received, there are concerns that this can result in double counting if an individual votes in person after having submitted an absentee ballot. I hope you can find a way to resolve this potential issue by law or administrative directive, e.g., by not allowing a vote if a valid ballot has already been processed.

5. We should put in place a process to resolve any challenges in the allowed five weeks from November 3 to December 8. We cannot afford several months delay in results, as has already been experienced in multiple previous Congressional elections. (Senator Al Franken was finally seated in June 2009.)

Otten The bottom line is that if we do not take action now, there is a reasonable chance that our voters’ votes will not count at all and the election of the President will be made by a probably partisan vote of 26 to 24 in the House of Representatives.

Register here to join the online conversation

Dr. Otten is a former President of the Scarsdale School Board, a retired international business executive with IBM, a part-time graduate school professor, as well as co-founder of a non-partisan group of business and law school alumni called "Reform Elections Now." This association formed two years ago with the objective to explore political innovations that could improve our democracy and make government work, and runs a monthly education Zoom on such subjects as Gerrymandering, Ranked Choice Voting, Opening Primaries and Voting-by-Mail.

BacktoSchoolThe Scarsdale Restart Committee will be providing the Community with its Restart Plan on Monday, August 3rd. There is an extremely abbreviated window to review this information and to provide feedback to the Restart Committee, before it is presented to NY State on August 7th. This is the first time that the plan is being shared with the parents of current Scarsdale School children, who are identified as key stakeholders in the NYS ED Guidance. To leverage extensive community expertise, and to provide a somewhat unified response from parents, a grass roots effort has been started to have interested parents, as part of the Scarsdale Restart Plan Review Group, align with the following areas for feedback:

-The Restart Task Groups (Athletics, Communications, Food Service, Human Resources, Medical/Nursing,
-Technology, Transportation, and Facilities)

-Academics - Elearning improvements, Curriculum Impact, In-Person Class Prioritization, IEP/504, Cohorts/Pods

-Mental Health - AAP Guidance for School Re-entry

-Legal - NYS ED Guidance, other legal concerns

-Covid-19 - Infectious Disease, testing expertise

We are in most need of expertise in Facilities, Transportation, Human Resources, and Food Service. Also, anyone who has experience implementing elearning systems, and any parent who is definite that they want their child(ren) to opt out, regardless of any plan that may be proposed, would help add perspective to the feedback. Please e-mail dgurden@optonline.net if you are interested in joining the effort, and specify where you would like to align yourself and the grade(s) of your child(ren).

There has also been some interest shown by Scarsdale Village residents, who do not have children currently in the Scarsdale Schools, and an effort is being made to facilitate their comments as well. Although there is overlap, the parents of children currently in Scarsdale Schools are more directly impacted by the Restart Plans. To facilitate discussion, there have been two Facebook groups created:

Scarsdale Restart Plan Review – Parents of Scarsdale Students - click here
Scarsdale Restart Plan Review – Residents - click here

For transparency, this is a grass roots effort driven by parents, and it is not officially sanctioned by the Restart Committee, Scarsdale Schools, the PTC, PTA, Board of Education, or Scarsdale Village.

JamaalBowmanJamaal Bowman, a 44 year-old middle school principal from the Baychester section of the Bronx, defeated16 term incumbent Eliot Engel in the Democratic primary for the 16th congressional district which includes Scarsdale. Bowman lives in Yonkers with his wife and their three children.

Though all the absentee ballots have not yet been counted, Bowman was declared the winner with a 13,000 vote lead over Engel.

Commenting on the victory, Bowman said, “I’m a Black man who was raised by a single mother in a housing project. That story doesn’t usually end in Congress. But today, that 11-year old boy who was beaten by police is about to be your next Representative.

“From the very beginning, we anchored our campaign in the fight for racial and economic justice. We spoke the truth -- about the police, about systemic racism, about inequality -- and it resonated in every part of the district.
“We brought people together across race, across class, across religion, across gender, to fight for justice, to fight for equality, and to fight to create a country that works for all of us. We didn’t let them divide us. And we did it all without accepting a dime from corporate PACs or lobbyists.

“The world has changed. Congress needs to change too. But if we can take on entrenched power and wealthy interests here in Westchester and the Bronx, then we can do it all across this country."

“I’m ready to get to work. I cannot wait to get to Washington and cause problems for the people maintaining the status quo.”

I another press release, Bowman commented on President Trump’s threat to cut off aid from school districts that do not reopen in September. He said, "The federal government has completely failed our children and our families throughout this entire pandemic. Now, as Donald Trump aims his fire at school districts that won’t haphazardly reopen, we don’t have to keep accepting his failures as the best we can do. Just because he is too incompetent to lead, doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t. In fact, the wellbeing of our kids, the health of our families, and the rehabilitation of our economy depend on it."

"First and foremost, you can't plan for a safe reopening when you can't pay for a safe reopening. So, where the hell is the money schools need? Congress needs to pass the HEROES Act with funding for school districts. Republicans in Congress have wasted months of time and billions of dollars, instead of creating safe solutions for our children. Not only do Republicans in Congress lack imagination, they lack compassion."

"As a public middle school principal, I know our schools are intimate communities within our greater communities. Reopening schools should not fall on just the shoulders of teachers and administrators. We need to have collaborative conversations with teachers, administrators, parents, students, physicians and all stakeholders. We need to create a plan for addressing and healing the collective traumas that our students and their families have faced during this unprecedented pandemic. Reopening will be a disaster, unless we come together now to create a cooperative plan that best meets everyone’s needs."

"It is the safety, health, and futures of our children, and our country, at stake here, and we can’t wait for Republicans to do their jobs. Our schools could be part of the problem, but I say let’s make them part of the solution. Let’s fight for funding to install proper ventilation systems to limit spreading the virus, and for supplies to keep our classrooms clean and safe. Let’s do as much COVID-19 testing, symptom monitoring, and contact tracing in our schools as possible. Let’s provide our students, teachers, and school workers with masks, that they can also use at home and in public. Let's be prepared to listen to public health experts and keep our class sizes as small as possible as we use creative solutions, like keeping windows and doors open, or educating in larger spaces like theaters."

"Let’s reopen schools, but let’s do it safely. Despite what our failing president says, the two are not mutually exclusive. Our children deserve an education, and they deserve to be healthy and safe. Period. Let’s make it happen."

Bowman is favored to win the seat in November as there is no Republican candidate and only one other challenger from the Conservative Party.

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