Friday, Apr 12th

MazerFeb24Current Village Trustee Ken Mazer is running for a second term on the Village Board. In advance of the election on March 19, 2024 we asked him about his accomplishments during his first term, for his views on the issues that face Scarsdale and what he thinks about pickleball courts, the pool and the building moratorium. Read below and remember to vote in the general election on Tuesday, March 19 in the Scott Room at Scarsdale Public Library at 54 Olmsted Road. Voting hours will be from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Introduce yourself to those who may not know you. What do you like about living in Scarsdale? How were your first two years as trustee and why did you decide to run again?

I have lived in Scarsdale for 27 years. In addition to completing my first term as Scarsdale Village Trustee, for the past 24 years I have been a member of the Scarsdale Volunteer Fire Department.

I grew up nearby in Harrison and received my BA from the University of Vermont and MBA from NYU. I live in Fox Meadow with my wife Melissa and have three children, ages 12, 14 and 24. Professionally, I run a business I started 20 years ago producing and importing textile products from Asia.

What impresses me most about Scarsdale is the high level of volunteerism throughout our community. Hundreds of residents commit countless hours to improve our schools, recreational activities, public safety and village government. And it shows. Scarsdale is a great place to live and raise a family.

It’s been an honor and a joy to serve on the Village Board. Addressing village-related problems, crafting sensible solutions and balancing the needs of conflicting constituents has been enormously satisfying.

Tell us what developments/accomplishments from your first term you are most proud of?

As Chair of the Personnel Committee, I was responsible for staffing our almost 20 Boards and Councils that oversee so many key functions of our village, from land-use, to sporting activities to cultural engagements, to quality-of-life initiatives. We cast a wide net to attract a deep pool of qualified candidates and ultimately filled 85 vacancies with impressive volunteers.

As Vice-Chair of the Infrastructure Committee, I supported the passage of the Sewer Lateral Law, which mandates homeowners, before selling their home, cure any leaks and dismantle any illegal sump-pumps that can collectively overwhelm and cause back-ups to the sanitary sewer system during powerful storms. While I recognized the inconvenience this would cause to all homeowners – and some complained about the hassle and cost, I appreciated the benefits it would have on sewer management, a critical challenge for our village. In the end it was clear to me that all residents needed to roll up their sleeves and do their part to help manage our stormwater problems.

Similarly, I was pleased when the board agreed to increase capital expenditures to make up for low spending in prior years, even if it meant slightly higher taxes. For example, we accelerated the paving schedule to finish resurfacing all of Scarsdale’s 80 miles of roads within 3 years. In another example, we just renovated 4 ballfields with updated infields that will result in better drainage and overall play starting this spring.

In your view, what are some of the major issues and decisions facing the Village Board this year?

The Pool: Our pool complex has outlived its expected service life and needs to be replaced. We’ve polled the community for input, consulted engineers on cost, and have determined the most practical upgrade is to replace it with another seasonal facility. An independent ad-hoc committee of community volunteers representing all constituencies of the village has been formed to oversee the design and redevelopment process. A key component of their work will be to seek feedback from the public for each step of the design process. Since I am not a part of the ad-hoc committee, I cannot comment on the forthcoming designs. But what I can say, is that, designs aside, the Board is committed to a financially sensible complex that will serve all of Scarsdale, from our very youngest to our most senior.

Land-Use Regulations: There is an overwhelming sentiment throughout the village that our land-use regulations have not kept up to date with the trends in real estate development and the impact of climate change. Accordingly, the board has hired a consulting firm with the necessary expertise to recommend enhancements to our regulations that will help our land-use boards work more closely together, enhance our greenery, better manage our stormwater runoff, and improve our new housing stock so it blends in better with our community. To give breathing room for the consultant’s work and the implementation of the revised codes, the Board has initiated a temporary 6-month moratorium on certain development activities.

Downtown Revitalization: The Board continues its work to make our downtown more of a focus in people’s lives. At the same time, we are addressing traffic flows downtown, and on Sprague Road, to make these thoroughfares safer and more welcoming to bicyclists and pedestrians. We hired a consulting firm experienced in these types of community revitalization projects. Our goal is to make the village more central in our daily activities, with appealing retailers and restaurants, parkland space, community programs and special events, all safely assessable by car, bike or foot. Trial traffic calming initiatives are scheduled for installation later this year for public comment.

New Village Manager: An active search is underway for a permanent Village Manager. The Board hired a search firm led by a women with extensive knowledge of municipal governments throughout Westchester county and who knows the industry players well. The Board will keep the community updated with important developments throughout the process.

In your first term Scarsdale lost its Village Manager. Did the absence of a Village Manager prevent the Board from moving forward on any initiatives? When do you think a new one will be installed and how do you envision his/her role?

The village is in extraordinarily capable hands. Our department superintendents and managers have decades of experience in the village and their work continues unimpeded. Our Acting Village Manager has shown an organizational oversight, dedication and wisdom of a seasoned pro. Until a permanent Village Manager is installed, the business of Scarsdale is “business as usual.”

I cannot predict when the permanent Village Manager will be selected, but I expect we will make substantial progress in the coming months. I envision her / his role will be to lead the village’s professional staff in implementing the strategic objectives established by the Board of Trustees, whose judgment is informed by our residents, our Boards & Councils, the Scarsdale Forum, and, of course, our professional village staff.

Stormwater management and flooding have been on the agenda of many meetings. Please discuss what the Village government can do and what else can be done to safeguard residents’ homes and public property.

Stormwater flooding has been an ongoing problem that the village has been addressing for many years. Exacerbated by more frequent and severe storms, our aging infrastructure is not up to the task.

The village has been undergoing a process of inspecting and repairing our existing pipeline network to make our sanitary and storm water drainage systems as efficient as possible. Partially complete, this effort will continue for several years. In addition, the newly enacted sewer lateral law, that I discussed previously, will help mitigate the impact of increased storm water on our sanitary sewer system.

Depending on the success of these measures, more aggressive plans prepared by the Department of Public Works could be considered. These call for adding upstream storage ponds that release captured storm water slowly, over many days, so that our drainage network is not over-taxed. Examples of such ponds already installed include the ones at George Field Park and across from the Public Safety Building. In addition, the proposals include upsizing the village’s culvert capacity to accommodate more storm water runoff. These plans, however, could potentially cost over $10 million. Funding at this level has not yet been considered by the Village Board.

The Board of Trustees ran a pilot program to provide pickleball courts on the Crossway Tennis Courts. How was the response? Do you think the Village will convert the tennis courts or build pickleball courts?

Recognizing the runaway popularity of pickleball, the Village Board is committed to making this sport available to our residents. In an effort to introduce pickleball, the Board identified Crossway Field as the most logical site for permanent courts, given the demands of space and parking, and considering the distance to adjacent homes. But to be sure the impact on the surrounding community was minimal, the Board first established trial courts by temporarily taping over tennis courts this past fall. With the trial up and running, the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Department carefully measured the participation rates, the impact on traffic & parking, and the noise emanating from the courts. Using decibel measuring devices, the sounds of the game were measured courtside, in back behind the noise-mitigating fencing and foliage, and further up by the little league field, where homes are nearby.

While the Board awaits a formal report and recommendations from the PRC, it seems Crossway, near the existing tennis courts, remains a promising location to install Scarsdale’s first permanent pickleball facilities.

This year the Board was faced with challenges to our land use code and preservation code from residents, realtors and developers. We currently have a six-month building moratorium in place. Share your views on these issues and what you expect the Village Board to do as an outcome of this pause.

As I mentioned previously, there is an overwhelming sentiment throughout the village that our land-use regulations have not kept up to date with the trends in real estate development and the impact of climate change. Accordingly, the Board has hired a consulting firm with the necessary expertise to recommend enhancements to our regulations that will help our land-use boards work more closely together, enhance our greenery, better manage our stormwater runoff, and improve our new housing stock so it blends in better with our community. To give breathing room for the consultant’s work and the implementation of the revised codes, the Board has initiated a temporary 6-month moratorium on certain development activities.

It is my hope and expectation that after considering the consultant’s report and receiving input from the community, the Board will make practical adjustments to our land-use and preservation codes that will prepare Scarsdale for the years ahead in way we can all support.

The Village is currently considering a proposal from the Scarsdale Business Alliance for $75,000 to fund an Executive Director. What are your views on public funding of private groups? What precedents might this decision set for future boards?

The Scarsdale Business Alliance is a compelling organization as its mission closely aligns with village objectives and our downtown revitalization initiative. That organization’s short-term grant request, however, needs to be evaluated in the context of other village priorities competing for our limited discretionary funds.

For me, the question of public funding of private groups revolves around what’s best for Scarsdale, and needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis. The best and highest uses of our funds will vary over time depending on our community’s needs, spending opportunities and the funds on-hand. Whatever is decided about the Scarsdale Business Alliance should have no bearing on the potential future funding of private groups that benefit the residents of Scarsdale.

Alyssa Emily Marvin low resWe’ve been following Alyssa Marvin for years, so when we found her name in the Playbill of “Appropriate” on Broadway, we decided it was time to catch up. Turns out that Alyssa has been very busy since she booked her first off Broadway show at the age of six and then toured Asia in “Annie” at eight. She made her Broadway debut in Gray House in 2023.

Now 15 years old, Marvin plays the role of Cassidy, a precocious tween caught in the drama of a dysfunctional family dissembling their father’s dilapidated plantation home in Arkansas. Cassidy appears alongside a veteran cast that includes Sarah Paulson, Corey Stoll and Ellen Fanning. As the story progresses, the characters become increasingly unhinged in their attempts to right their wronged relationships and salvage anything that’s left of the estate.

It's an intense drama to watch, and we assume an even more difficult play to perform, especially when you’re only 15. We reached out to Marvin with some questions about her career and the play and here is what she shared.

How did your parents recognize your passion for acting and how did you develop your talents?

When I was around four years old I went to see my first Broadway show (Annie) and I desperately wanted to be ON the stage! After that, my mom signed me up for local theater classes near Scarsdale at Random Farms Kids Theater and Sandbox Theatre, where I developed my love of performing. Since then, I’ve done many shows locally as well as professionally. I booked my first off-Broadway show when I was six, at eight I toured Asia in Annie directed by Martin Charnin, and then went on to tour the United States and Canada with School of Rock during 4th and 5th grade. During middle school, I worked on an off-Broadway musical called Trevor: The Musical, which is now streaming on Disney+! Earlier this year, I made my Broadway debut in the psychological thriller Grey House directed by Joe Mantello. Outside of working, I think training is essential. I train constantly - I take voice lessons, multiple acting classes, and dance classes in the city each week.

MarvinandFanningAlyssa Marvin and Elle Fanning

Tell us about your education - did you attend Scarsdale Schools initially? And what are you up to now?

I have been in and out of Scarsdale schools since I started working during elementary school. When I’m not working on a show, I go to Scarsdale schools. For example, I did the first half of 9th grade at SHS before I booked Grey House. When I’m working, I do a fully asynchronous online program called Laurel Springs that works with my theater schedule. Child performer laws require schooling every school day, so I either school at home doing my online program or do it with tutors at the theater (depending on how many hours I am there for on a given day). I’m currently taking a full course load online similar to what I would have taken in 10th grade at Scarsdale - chemistry, algebra and even two AP classes. It’s definitely a challenge to keep up with school and perform eight shows a week, so I try to do my assignments whenever I can like backstage before the shows.

Describe your daily schedule on a day the show is on. How do you get to and from the theater - and what time do you finish at night?

Normally, I start the day doing school work at home, if it’s a single show day. In the late afternoons, I usually head to the city to have a voice lesson, dance lesson, or acting class before my call time at the theater. I arrive at the theater about 45 minutes before the show - say hello to my castmates, get ready, warm-up, maybe do a school assignment. Depending on the train schedule/what time I have to be there, I either take the train to the city or my mom, dad or grandma drive me in. Post-show, I usually get picked up by one of them since it's late at night. On two show days, I basically spend the entire day/evening at the theater!

How long is the run for Appropriate?

Appropriate is running at the Helen Hayes through March 3rd.

How do you get new roles? Do you have an agent?

Lots of auditions! I have an amazing agent, so that’s how I receive auditions. Nowadays, the first audition for a project is usually a self-tape, which I do at home, but more projects are starting to return to in-person auditions for the first round (for theater especially). For Appropriate, my initial audition was in person (my mom picked me up at sleep-away camp and drove me to New York City for it) and all the call-backs were also in person.

Some of the content in Appropriate is inappropriate indeed! Tell us about your reaction to it. Is it tough to be a teen in the midst of a very grown-up and dysfunctional family story?

While some of the content in Appropriate can be tough to swallow, the message of the show is so powerful and important, and those hard parts are necessary to achieve the maximum impact. Being a teen in such an intense show can be difficult, but the entire cast and creative team is so supportive, so it was easier to navigate the hard subject matter with them by my side.

AppropriatecastMarvin on stage with the cast of Appropriate.

How have you spent your summers?

If I’m not working on a show, I go to French Woods Festival, a performing arts camp! I’ve been going there for many years (on and off depending on work), and I love it. I often self-tape auditions at camp and sometimes have to come home for them, but it works out great since it’s a theater camp, so I have plenty of people to prep with for auditions. This past summer I had expected to be working on Grey House on Broadway all summer, but when the show unexpectedly closed during July, I went to French Woods for three weeks in August. The summer before I had planned to be there for six weeks, but I booked a job while there, so I came home after three weeks to work on the project I booked. So we never know for sure what I’ll be doing each summer!

Do you take acting lessons or have an acting coach?

I take acting classes regularly for both theater and on-camera acting. Additionally, I have dance and voice lessons every week, so I can stay a well-rounded performer.

Do you miss anything about just being a student at SHS?

The thing I miss most about being a student at SHS is seeing all of my friends every day. However, I feel very grateful that I am able to stay connected to the community through the drama club and its members, so I get the best of both worlds.

What are your hopes for the future? Do you know whether or not you’ll head to college or pursue your career in NYC?

I’m not entirely sure what I will do in the future, but I know that I love acting and will certainly want to keep pursuing it on stage and screen. I’m also interested in law and psychology, so I would love to study those subjects too. I definitely will go to college and continue to act professionally!

Who are some actors that you admire or serve as role models?

I feel so lucky to be a part of the amazing cast of Appropriate, and I really admire all of the adult actors. They are all so masterful and committed to what they do, and I feel so grateful to get to learn from them every day, both on and off-stage.

What advice would you give to other kids who wish to become actors?

A piece of advice I would give to other kids who want to become actors is to always be persistent. You will receive a lot of “No’s” in this business, and it’s important to not let them get to you. Keep doing what you love, and trust it will all work out in the end.

(Update February 13: The show is transfering to the Balasco Theatre and extending through June 23 and Alyssa is staying with the show.)

SeidenVeronRublinSuzanne Seiden, Jane Veron and Erika RublinJane Veron is the 2024 recipient of the venerated Scarsdale Bowl, awarded annually since 1943 to those who have “given unselfishly of time, energy, and effort to the civic welfare of the community.”

The Scarsdale Foundation also continued its new tradition of honoring either an individual or an organization who has made a tangible difference in the community’s quality of life in one specific area. The second-ever Spotlight Award goes to Maroon and White for its enormous contribution to high school and middle school athletics, and by extension the community.

Please plan to celebrate the Foundation’s honorees at the Bowl Dinner on Thursday, April 11th. The Scarsdale Foundation promotes and celebrates volunteerism, administers grants and scholarships, provides need-based college scholarships for sophomores, juniors and seniors and recognizes extraordinary volunteers who work toward the betterment of the community.

A Bit About Jane Veron

“Jane has contributed so much to the Scarsdale community, and we are thrilled to honor her with the Bowl this year,” said Scarsdale Bowl Chair Erika Rublin. “She is an extraordinary leader whose vision, commitment and compassion has made a tremendous difference for Scarsdale.

The Bowl Committee, a diverse group of 15 community volunteers representing all areas and demographics of Scarsdale, selects the recipient after reviewing and vetting many worthy candidates who are nominated by the community. Following the Bowl Committee vote on Sunday night, Erika Rublin along with Suzanne Seiden, President of the Scarsdale Foundation, Leah Dembitzer Secretary of the Bowl Committee, Isabel Finegold, Treasurer of the Bowl Committee, and Bowl Committee member Sharon Higgins surprised Veron at her home with the news on Sunday night.

Bowl GroupSuzanne Seiden, Erika Rublin, Sharon Higgins, Jane Veron, Isabel Finegold and Leah Dembitzer
“I feel such overwhelming emotion and am honored beyond words,” said former Mayor Veron. “I have such strong love for this community and deeply admire the incredible people who make up this special place. I was truly caught off guard Sunday night when an exceptional group of volunteers gathered at my front door. Being recognized by those who are deserving in their own right makes this award profoundly meaningful.”

Fox Meadow resident Jane Veron has had a long history of volunteer work touching upon so many organizations that are the pillars of life in the village, making her a natural recipient of the 2024 Scarsdale Bowl award. Well known in the community for her volunteerism, Veron has tirelessly championed local government initiatives in Scarsdale, revitalizing the downtown while championing broad policy improvements for municipal services, infrastructure, economic development, and land use. Veron and her husband, Andrew Feldstein, have lived in Scarsdale since 1997 and raised their three daughters, Emily, Julia and Anna, here.

Professionally, Veron has demonstrated recognizable social impact serving as the CEO and co-founder of The Acceleration Project (TAP), a nonprofit organization creating a more equitable and inclusive economy providing advisory services to under-resourced small business owners across the country. Since co-founding TAP in 2012, Veron has grown the organization to nearly 200 consultants who serve thousands of small business owners annually. She is currently serving on the SBA Investment Capital Advisory Committee, a new federal committee of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the leading advocate for America’s 33 million small businesses.

A lover of learning, Veron said she always knew she wanted to use her abilities for social good. She is a graduate of Harvard Business School (MBA) and Yale University (BA). Her public service resume includes serving as President, League of Women Voters of Scarsdale; Chair, Scarsdale Neighborhood Association of Presidents (SNAP); President, Fox Meadow Neighborhood Association; Executive Committee, Fox Meadow PTA; Vice President, Scarsdale-Edgemont Family Counseling Service; Secretary, Scarsdale Foundation; Chair, Scarsdale Bowl Committee; Chair, Scarsdale Planning Board; Steering Committee Member, Youth Athletic Coalition; and many positions on various Scarsdale community boards. Her dynamic approach models outreach and engagement on issues to reach consensus.

Community member Nicky Ziman said, “Jane is an eminently capable, committed volunteer in Scarsdale in a variety of civic roles, culminating in her mayorship. Motivated to achieve optimal outcomes for all, Jane always demonstrated thoughtful evaluation of initiatives, insightful judgment, and deliberation informed by community and professional opinions. For Jane, the ultimate goal of civic leadership was the betterment and welfare of Scarsdale and she took her responsibilities seriously, pursuing them with genuine and wholehearted interest. Jane’s lasting impact on Scarsdale is undeniable from her contributions to the Library renovation and expansion to the revitalization of Scarsdale Village Center. She is an asset to our village, and Scarsdale is a better place for having Jane as a citizen of this community."

The Spotlight Award

SeidenFrankRublinSuzanne Seiden, Amy Frank and Erika RublinFor the second time, the Bowl Committee also selected a Spotlight Award winner. As opposed to the depth and breadth required of the Bowl winner, the Spotlight Award recognizes meaningful contributions in a specific area or a problem solved after focused effort.

The Bowl Committee requested suggestions of individuals and organizations alike from the community and reviewed many worthy nominations before voting for Maroon and White to be the 2024 recipient of the Spotlight Award in recognition of their significant contributions to the Scarsdale student athletic community. Maroon and White Co-President Amy Frank was likewise surprised to learn of the award when Erika Rublin, Suzanne Seiden, Leah Dembitzer, Isabel Finegold and Sharon Higgins surprised her at her home with the news on Sunday night.

On behalf of the parents, donors, and volunteers for Maroon and White, we were honored and delighted to be recognized as only the second-ever recipient of the Spotlight Award," said Maroon and White Co-President Amy Frank.

Co-President Moira Crouch added, "We exist to support our kids and our athletes and to honor excellence and team spirit and it is gratifying to be so recognized by the larger 'team' of our community in Scarsdale."

Maroon and White has been the booster program for high school and middle school athletics for 55 years, providing funds to purchase necessary equipment for their teams that aren’t covered in the current year school budget. In the last 5 years alone, the charitable volunteer and parent-led organization has donated over $780,000 to fund numerous projects. Most notable of these have been the lights at Butler Field and a new scoreboard at Supply Field, which have been significant to both the teams that use these fields and the wider Scarsdale community.

In addition to their financial support, the volunteers of Maroon and White are the consummate cheerleaders for Scarsdale’s high school athletes. Throughout the year, Maroon and White highlights weekly sports achievements through their “Raider of the Week” program, encourages attendance at important games with social media posts and email blasts, provides celebratory food, snacks and drinks at various game days, sponsors team dinners at the end of each sports season, and this past fall organized a parade to honor the season’s multiple State Championship teams. Maroon and White also plays a key role in promoting leadership, sportsmanship and a strong work ethic through numerous annual recognition awards given to deserving student athletes.

Suzanne Seiden, President of the Scarsdale Foundation said, “Every year, the Scarsdale Foundation and the Scarsdale Bowl Committee seeks to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism and generosity that make our community so special by honoring those who exemplify those ideals. Maroon and White embodies the generosity of our parents and our community, and has made an outstanding difference in the lives of our student athletes. Jane Veron, a remarkable volunteer and leader, has left an indelible mark on our village. We are thrilled to be celebrating with such dedicated volunteers and our larger community on April 11th.”

PanelistsWhat can our lawmakers do to address anti-Semitism and Islamophobia? What steps can they take to improve student mental health? Are there funds available to ameliorate local flooding?

These were just a few of the questions posed to a panel of local officials at a breakfast sponsored by the PT Council on Friday February 2, 2024 at Greenacres Elementary School. Students from the AT Public Policy Class at Scarsdale High School were invited to question the panelists who included:

State Senator Shelley MayerMintzSinghJoshua Mitts and Rachana Singh
State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin
NYS Regent Francis Wills
Scarsdale Schools Superintendent Drew Patrick
Westchester County Executive George Latimer
Westchester County Legislator Ben Boykin
Scarsdale Mayor Justin Arest

The event was hosted by Joshua Mitts and Rachana Singh who chair the PTC Legislative Advocacy Committee. Topics included budgets, climate change, hate crimes, testing and more, and the informed panelists had much to share.

To a question about anti-Semitism Amy Paulin said, “When October 7 broke out many of us knew it would just be a matter of time before anti-Semitism broke out and Israel would be seen as the aggressor not the victim….. Last week our office joined with others in the Village to fight back (to an incident at the Golden Horseshoe) immediately. As a community we showed this is not appropriate in our home. That was a spontaneous reaction. We as a community are fighting back.”

George Latimer said, “The Golden Horseshoe is the most recent manifestation of anti-Semitism. We should speak universally against hatred.”

Regent Frances Wills said that education should be used to fight hatred. She said, “We have to be vigilant and we have to find ways to educate and teach about this. Education is the key.”

AmyandFrancesAmy Paulin and Frances WillsBen Boykin noted that the county has a Human Rights Commission with subpoena power to investigate incidents and bring in individuals.” He said, “We will not allow this to take place in Westchester County. We will investigate incidents like graffiti and the incident at the Leffel School.”

To a question about funding for mental health in schools, Paulin said, “Here we enjoy lots of support – but that is not true of most districts across the state. Schools can’t even afford nurses, or a devoted mental health worker. I just filed legislation to allow for telehealth in schools – which is not permitted now. This would be more affordable.”

To a question about cuts in state educational funding for schools, Latimer called on the federal government to provide more school funding. He said, “The missing piece in educational funding is the Federal Government. It falls on the states to equalize the disparities between districts. The state is being pulled in multiple ways because the federal government does not fund education in urban areas.”

What about local flooding? Scarsdale Mayor Justin Arest said, “Infrastructure is a huge priority for the Village. We are looking at $13 mm for stormwater remediation projects for the next three years. Our stormwater system was designed over 100 years ago. We are working with the schools, county, state, federal government on this. We have a dream team to partner with. But we do need more federal funding. I wish we could have someone like minded in Congress.”

And can something be done about weather related disruptions to school. What is the role of the county and state in addressing the flooding around the high school?”LeahandShelleyLeah Dembitzer and Shelley Mayer

Superintendent Andrew Patrick got to the heart of the issue; the parking lot on Brewster Road which often floods when the stream running through it overflows. Patrick said, “Some of the responsibility for the parking lot has to be addressed by the district. You will see some discussion about the stream in the parking lot to see if we can increase its capacity.”

Paulin added, “We secured $6 million to deal with the flooding on the Hutch. The real cost would be 20 times that. We can’t do it without federal help. We need mega bucks to impact the flooding.”

The discussion turned to the NYS Regents tests. Regent Wills said, “We are looking at multiple paths to graduation. A standardized test is one way to measure student accomplishment. Students demonstrate what they know in multiple ways. Performance based assessments also work. We are also looking at technical education. Every student has a different way of demonstrating what he or she knows.” She added, “We have to have a diploma that allows special needs students to go onto to college and succeed.”

Senator Mayer spoke about Governor Hochul’s proposed budget. She said, “I am strongly against the Governor’s budget – all types of districts will be hurt. We are not in a recession. The cuts are not justified. I believe the Governor should have put additional money in the state budget to address anti-Semitism and islamophobia.”

Finally the students asked, “How do you address issues that are in conflict among your constituencies?”

Paulin said, “I grew up with the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale who worked through consensus and everyone got something they wanted. When I got to the legislature I worked on issues that the Republicans would agree to. Part is being a pragmatist and knowing what you can get done in the current climate. Another part is being nice and building friendships that will allow you to push the boundaries. You can build momentum slowly as i have done for a bill I introduced in 2017 and hope to get passed this year.”

The event was well attended in a sign of keen interest among residents in our local schools and government.

Draft1In Version 1, school opens the day after Labor Day and there is a two-week holiday break.Earlier this month, the Scarsdale School District released its proposed drafts for the 2024-25 school calendar. For many in our community, a peek at the drafts can give insight into when school might start, when the breaks will fall, and when school might let out for summer, which makes planning for things like vacations and camps all the easier. But while this glimpse of the future can be helpful, each year the proposed calendars also garner a lot of feedback from parents who are both happy about the drafts and from those who have concerns.

This year there are two proposed calendars. While both drafts include the newly added holidays of Diwali, Lunar New Year, and Eid al-Fitr, the first version offers two full weeks of vacation for the holiday break in December while the second version has a shortened holiday break and adds the two extra days off to the end of the Labor day weekend.

Version One:

Version Two:

According to online chatter, the first version can prove to be difficult for some dual-working parents of elementary aged students. As one mom Andrea Hirshberg said, “The two week December break is incredibly challenging for families with young children- it was a very long time to be out of school, and it’s not feasible for parents who work to always take two full weeks off (especially when there are two additional weeklong breaks in the subsequent 4 months) creating significant childcare/coverage issues. Not every family in Scarsdale is able to travel abroad for two full weeks, for various reasons.”

Along with many others, one commenter agrees with Ms. Hirshberg, and had this to say about the long holiday break we had this year, “Two weeks off was so disruptive. Kids were out of sorts going back to school, parents were off routine and exhausted.”

Still, the majority of those chiming in seem to favor the first version which provides a full two weeks break over the winter holidays giving international families a chance to travel home, families with college aged kids a real opportunity to spend time together, and older students the mental break they need to truly recharge.Draft2In Version 2, school starts on September 5, and there are eight days off for the winter holidays.

Though sympathetic with working parents, Monika Desai shared, “I was not initially a fan of the two weeks off during Christmas as we are dual full-time working household w kids in elementary. Now that we had it, I loved it. We felt much more refreshed coming into the new year, can only imagine how important that is for middle and high school where academics can be stressful and rough. Plus, those families tend to have kids split in high school and in college and it allows all of them to be off together. I will appreciate that when I’m in that position.

This year, we traveled for the second week and did a hodge-podge of child care coverage for the post Christmas week while working, changing hours for our afterschool care, etc. I’ve noticed it tends to be a lighter workload in the medical/corporate world too since many people are away. It wasn’t easy but we did it. I can imagine if not traveling while working for either week with young kids would be rough.

I would rather start Sept 3 after Labor Day and have two weeks off during winter again.”

Esthela Lecouna, another parent in favor of a longer holiday break added, “ Two weeks break is great for international families, especially the ones who celebrate Christmas with our loved ones. It's also important for every student who needs a mental break for school. They work pretty hard during fall so they deserve time to rest, other activities, different routines and to recharge energy.”

Apsara Sriram shared, “Version one makes more sense. Most people are ready to start immediately after Labor Day. I don’t see a point of two extra days [For the Labor Day Weekend] when high school students start sports and other activities earlier. Makes more sense to get the two week break in Dec/ Jan.”

As they do every January, the Scarsdale Board of Education will carefully consider the drafts put forth by the District and in February, a revised draft will be presented at a Board of Education meeting with the final calendar being approved by the end of that month. During their deliberations, the BOE will not only take into account all of the various factors that are considered when the District thoughtfully develops the drafts (such as laws and regulations that apply to all public schools in the state, the legal holidays that must be observed, and agreements that exist between the Board of Education and the seven unions that represent employees in the district) but they will also allow consider feedback from our parent and student bodies. To learn more about how the school calendar is developed please see here

Leave a Comment

Share on Myspace