Frequently Asked Questions
Q) WHY NOT JUST RENOVATE ALL OF OUR EXISTING BUILDINGS?
Uniting our schools on a single campus to realize the academic, social and economic benefits that the move would create has been a longtime vision of the district and the primary goal of this capital project from conception through our current referendum. Making repairs at R.J. Bailey and Highview elementary schools would not attain our goal of consolidation or be cost-effective.
The cost to make necessary repairs to the district’s existing schools is estimated at $79 million, just to satisfy state and national code requirements. Due to the fact that nearly all building systems are between 20 and 40-plus years beyond their average useful life, the work that would be completed for $79 million would result in an abbreviated life span and would not deliver the long-term savings that the $114.6 million bond proposal does.
As our Board of Education Vice President, Mr. Lloyd Newland, explained during a public forum at RJ Bailey School on Thursday, January 24, making the $79 million repairs is “just kicking the can down the road.” It amounts to an expensive solution now that will leave us requiring significant, necessary improvements – and spending – later.
The 2019 Capital Project would deliver long-term cost savings by investing in modern, energy-efficient, technologically-equipped buildings that will have lower operating costs and greater longevity. This plan also delivers 21stCentury learning spaces that encourage hands-on learning and best prepare our students for future collegiate and career pursuits in an increasingly global community.
Q: WHY ARE SO MANY SYSTEMS AND STRUCTURES IN SUCH BAD SHAPE?
Despite assessments that revealed serious issues with building infrastructure, past school administrations failed to take necessary action or allow appropriate funds to address them over the years. When you combine this with the fact that our district has been underfunded by the state and that the state tax cap has prevented certain measures from being taken, you can understand why our district has been experiencing the kinds of issues outlined in the next FAQ question.
Bond efforts by past administrations also failed to garner sufficient support, and multiple decades of deferred maintenance have made the 2019 investment a necessity. We are beyond what annual budgets and small capital reserves can cover to meaningfully address what we need to do to provide optimal learning environments for our students.
Q: WHY IS THIS PROJECT NECESSARY NOW FOR GREENBURGH?
Our District has facilities designed over multiple decades, from as early as 1929 to our high school constructed in 1974, and none of them meet current learning, teaching or safety needs. LF Jackson is 59 years old, Highview is 63 years old and RJ Bailey is 89 years old. These buildings are falling apart and require major upgrades and repairs. It is time for a major investment in our public school district to benefit our students and the community.
Following, are just some of the issues our students, faculty, and staff have experienced due to failing systems and overall degraded building conditions from December 2016 through December 2018.
- Ongoing: Building temperatures each winter fluctuate wildly – some rooms from the 50s to the 90s in the same day – due to outdated heating systems that no longer function properly despite constant repairs
- Ongoing: Climate-control issues exist in warmer months as – exceeding 80 degrees during several school days – due to failing air conditioning units and inefficient windows
- December 2016: outdated fan motor failure caused loss of heat at LF Jackson
- May 2017: girls’ bathroom at R.J. Bailey shut down due to broken waste line
- August 2017: a light fixture fell and needed to be replaced in the gym at RJ Bailey
- December 2017: repeated days without heat at RJ Bailey
- February 2018: ongoing pressure problems with the expansion tanks at LF Jackson required replacement
- March 2018: a rotted storage tank at Highview led to water in the boiler room.
- August 2018: leaking water main at L.F. Jackson was discovered to have been resulting in increased water bills
- October 2018:non-compliant lighting in the Highview gymnasium had to be replaced
- November 2018: rust caused a cold water riser to burst on the third floor of RJ Bailey, resulting in major flooding that required student evacuation and lead to necessary asbestos remediation
- Q) WHAT IS THE DISTRICT'S BOND RATING?
- The District's Bond Rating per U.S. Public Finance - Moody's Investor Services is Aa2. View Here (Bond Rating Categories)
Q: HOW WILL THE DISTRICT ENSURE THAT A NEW SCHOOL WOULD BE PROPERLY MAINTAINED?
Keeping district buildings in top condition at all times is a function of mindful, ongoing maintenance coupled with suitable budgetary decisions and allocations. The thorough and detailed planning process that has taken place to establish the proposal before voters now is representative of the subsequent attention and care that will be applied after approval on March 19. Our newly built and renovated facilities would also be constructed of high-quality building materials and modern systems, both with great durability and long lifespans.
Q) WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO R.J. BAILEY AND HIGHVIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS?
RJ Bailey and Highview elementary schools will be closed and sold. It is estimated that their sale will bring in approximately $20 million. The proceeds from that sale will help to offset the costs of high priority repairs at Woodlands High School.
An additional benefit of selling these two buildings is that, depending on the buyer, both properties would be returned to the tax rolls.
- Richard J. Bailey Appraisal; Highview Elementary Appraisal
Q) WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING THE PRE-K PROGRAM AT LF JACKSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL?
For the first time, our district will be able to offer free full-day Pre-K, a program currently unavailable for some area families due to lack of space. The renovated and expanded LF Jackson Elementary School would have ample space to serve Pre-K through 2nd, making all Greenburgh families eligible to enroll children in full-day Pre-K.
The Child Care Council of Westchester estimates the average annual cost of pre-school childcare in Westchester County to be $16,000. Parents in our district actually paying annual childcare have told us that that number is actually much higher, exceeding $20,000 in many cases.
Also, the 2019 Capital Project would support students’ social and emotional wellness by minimizing the number of transitions they go through during their academic careers. The unified campus model would provide a strong start for our early learners in a safe, spacious environment conducive to learning.
For supporting information and citations related to these answers, please follow this link.
Q) HOW WILL THE CAPITAL PROJECT IMPACT MY TAXES?
The Average Monthly Cost to taxpayers for the proposed 2019 Capital Project would be $14 per month, per $100,000 dollars of assessed property value. THIS INCLUDES THE PRINCIPAL AND INTEREST.
This is based on an estimated 30-year average. For example, if your home is assessed at $100,000, then the tax impact is estimated to be $168 annually, or $14 each month. Following are some further examples, based on round figures.
Assessed Home Value
Estimated Monthly Tax Impact
Estimated Annual Tax Impact
To more accurately estimate your own tax impact, please use the calculator widget located here.
Q) WILL TAXPAYERS BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ADDITIONAL COSTS BEYOND THOSE RESULTING FROM
THE PROPOSED $114.6 MILLION PROJECT?
The tax impact incurred for the $114.6 million project cost WILL NOT INCREASE for taxpayers.
The proposed bond of $114.6 million takes into account all known factors and costs so that the overall project will be completed within that amount. New York State Education Department guidelines substantiate that we must design and work within the voter-approved bond limit.
Additionally, contractor costs can be much higher during certain times of the year (spring and summer), as they may already have plenty of work planned or in progress. Therefore, our proposed dates for the public bid fall at the optimal time to get the lowest cost and the best pool of qualified contractors.
See graphic below. Workflow shown is for the new 3-8 school.
Q) HOW IS THE CURRENT PROPOSAL $50 MILLION DOLLARS LESS THAN THE PREVIOUS PROPOSAL?
$114.6 million is a decrease of $51.4 million from the previous proposal under consideration by the Board of Education. While the district and Board believed that elements included in the initial proposal would have provided valuable benefits for students, staff and the community, we took into account concerns from residents over the initial cost and carefully considered which elements of the plan to remove in order to bring that cost down. Items adjusted to reach the new number include a reduction in overall paved roadways and parking areas, reduced seating capacity in the new 3-8 building auditorium and the total omission of the auditorium at LF Jackson.
The revised plan also omits improvements slated for Woodlands High School. We now plan to prioritize the essential facility needs of Woodlands through an Energy Performance Contract and through annual budgets and anticipate doing so within the state-imposed tax cap.
Q) HOW MUCH HAVE OTHER NEARBY DISTRICTS INVESTED IN CAPITAL PROJECTS?
A comparison of capital project investments by neighboring districts shows that Greenburgh has spent appreciably less than others with buildings that are around the same age as Greenburgh’s buildings.
Our district’s capital project funding over the past 20 years has been…
Bond for ADA Repairs
Fund Balance for Repairs
Compared to other districts...
- New Rochelle:$110,000,000
- Blind Brook-Rye:$85,400,000
- Mount Vernon:$300,000,000
- White Plains:$217,000,000
Q) WHY IS THIS NEEDED? ISN’T OUR ENROLLMENT DECREASING?
When a school district is proposing a capital project like this one, the New York State Education Department requires a demographic study, including enrollment projections reaching ten years out.
As part of the 2019 Capital Project process, Greenburgh contracted with an outside consultant who specializes in these studies. The study indicated that enrollment is expected to continue to remain relatively stable and increase over the next ten years.
Enrollment (PK‐12) is projected to rise to 2,071 students in less than 10 years post-bond (2027).
The complete results of this study are readily available by request through the district.
Q) DON’T WE ALREADY SPEND APPRECIABLY MORE PER STUDENT THAN OTHER DISTRICTS?
First, it is important to note that there is no correlation between a district’s per-pupil spending and its facilities costs. That said, a fiscal accountability summary for the academic year 2016-2017 states that Greenburgh’s per-pupil expenditure for general education is $16,449, and $52,004 for special education.
It should be noted that Greenburgh has a proportionately higher percentage of special education needs compared to other schools, which increases the overall average. This is on par with spending by other nearby districts with similar general and special education enrollment, including Irvington UFSD, UFSD of the Tarrytowns and Valhalla UFSD.
Documentation of per-pupil spending is readily available from district officials, or directly from the New York State Education Department archive by following this link.
Q: WHY PAY FOR THESE NEW FACILITIES WHEN STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT ISN’T AS HIGH
AS SURROUNDING DISTRICTS?
Greenburgh has actually raised achievement and added programs. Our graduation rate in 2018 was 96%. Of those who graduated, 90% went on to college. We have an elementary advanced learning program, and our language programs offer Mandarin from kindergarten through 12thgrade. The District has also been named a K-12 International Baccalaureate School District.
Q) HOW WOULD A UNIFIED CAMPUS IMPACT TRAFFIC IN THE AREA?
As part of the environmental review process, a traffic study was conducted. The study showed:
- An increase in campus-related traffic in the area
- Traffic delays on the public roads would not significantly increase as a result of the consolidation
- The need for a traffic signal at the campus entrance at Pat Capone Road (intersection of Pat Capone & 100A) to mitigate delays on that road
- Pre-existing visibility issues along Juniper Hill Road and Saratoga Road
All pre-existing conditions at both campus entrances were evaluated in the study. The district continues to work with both the New York State Department of Transportation and Town of Greenburgh to improve existing traffic conditions near the campus. This communication and coordination will continue throughout the design of the project.
The purpose of the initial study is to identify existing conditions and problems, and to provide potential mitigation options to address them. The next step, after the referendum is approved, is to design the measures to help improve pre-existing conditions in conjunction with the DOT and Town of Greenburgh.
Q) HOW WILL CONSOLIDATING ON ONE CAMPUS IMPACT STUDENT OUTCOMES?
Single campus learning environments have both academic and social benefits for students, including fewer transitions, which have been shown to improve student performance. Stronger, sustained student/teacher relationships can be cultivated and family engagement and attendance rates rise – both factors that can improve academic achievement. Safety and security can even be improved when students feel a greater sense of connectivity and belonging. Finally, faculty and staff can be utilized more efficiently and reduced building operational costs can be invested into programs.
You can peruse more supporting citations by clicking here.
Q) IS IT SENSIBLE TO HAVE GRADES 3-8 IN THE SAME BUILDING?
Students in grades 3-5 and 6-8 would have their own student entrances, visitor entrances, and offices, along with separate learning communities within the new building. The shared spaces like the gymnasium, cafeteria, and media center would be sub-divided to create separate spaces for each grade group.
Q) HOW WILL NEW AND RENOVATED FACILITIES IMPROVE STUDENT PERFORMANCE?
This capital project is not just about addressing the way the buildings look; it will create positive learning environments. Research confirms that learning environments matter! Each and every design element of the 2019 Capital Project was considered through the lens of creating optimal learning spaces.
A 2015 article in Building and Environment Journal titled“The Impact of Classroom Design on Pupils’ Learning: Final Results of a Holistic, Multi-level Analysis”, reports among its findings that efficient heating, cooling and ventilation increase student task speed and lead to improved test scores, and that proper acoustic design has a direct effect on speech intelligibility and student understanding. Another study by Cornell University from 2016 states that 70% of variation of student achievement on NYS standardized tests can be predicted based on building condition surveys.
You can peruse more supporting citations by clicking here.
Q) WHEN WOULD CONSTRUCTION BEGIN IF THE BOND IS APPROVED?
The project will be subject to careful in-depth planning prior to its start and managed in phases to minimize disruptions for students and staff to ensure ongoing optimal learning environments and the highest safety standards. Steps will also be taken to mitigate any potential construction disruptions for the community. In fact, strict engineering controls will be established, aligned with State Education Department regulations. Construction areas will be cordoned off from students and staff at all times. Here is a basic breakdown of the scheduled as currently conceived:
March 19, 2019
New Turf Field and Track
Start Date: February 2020 Completion: Summer 2021
New 3‐8 School
Start Date: March 2021 Occupancy: Fall 2023
L.F. Jackson Additions & Renovations
Start Date: March 2021 Occupancy: Fall 2022
Q) HOW MUCH CONSTRUCTION TRAFFIC AND NOISE WILL THERE BE?
Based on our construction schedule, construction workers would arrive at designated entrances at approximately 7:00 a.m. and depart at approximately 3:30 p.m. This is done purposefully to limit the impact of construction and personal worker vehicles at peak traffic times. Deliveries would be scheduled outside of school arrival and dismissal times.
Related to this, vehicle wheel cleaning provisions will be in place at access points to minimize dirt tracking onto neighborhood streets. In instances when the removal of hazardous materials is necessary, it will be completed under strict compliance with all regulations and with required 3rd party monitoring.
Peak construction noise would occur during installations of the foundation and structural steel for the new 3-8 building and the addition to LF Jackson. The new 3-8 building is more than 700 feet away from the campus’ southern property line and buffered by existing trees south of Pat Capone Road. The addition at LF Jackson is planned for the southern side of the building, the furthest possible distance away from homes on Saratoga Road. These details will help to mitigate the noise.
Construction operations will not produce noise in excess of 60 dba in occupied spaces. 60 dba registers as “conversation in a restaurant, office, background music; air conditioning unit heard at 100 feet and is classified as “Fairly Quiet” by accepted industry standards.
Q) HOW WILL GREENBURGH ADDRESS ANY POTENTIAL CONSTRUCTION POLLUTION?
Every construction project of this kind, state-wide, is subject to rigorous safety qualifications in regards to these issues, as defined by the New York State Education Department. Our project is no exception!
Our engineering controls will be aligned with Section 155.5 of the Rules of the Regents and Regulations of the Commissioner of Education– Uniform Safety Standards for School Construction and Maintenance Projects. These mandated safety items include:
- Occupied building spaces will always comply with the minimum requirements to maintain a certificate of occupancy.
- All school construction areas will be tested for lead and asbestos.
- General safety and security standards will be adhered to, including material storage, gates and fencing, overhead protection, and photo-identification of all workers.
- Construction areas will be separated from occupied areas at all times.
- Construction operations will not produce noise in excess of 60 dba in occupied spaces which is equivalent to the volume of common conversation in a restaurant or office setting.
- Chemical fumes and gases produced by construction activities will be monitored and controlled to ensure they do not enter occupied portions of the building.
- ‘Off-gassing’ of volatile organic compounds (glues, paints, carpeting, etc.) will be scheduled, cured, or ventilated in accordance with manufacturer recommendations before a space is to be occupied.
- Any interior asbestos abatement project will not be performed while the wing or building section is occupied. Complete isolation of ventilation systems and windows will be provided for all exterior asbestos abatement.
- Disturbed surfaces will be tested for lead. A plan prepared by a certified Lead Risk Assessor detailing lead abatement requirements will be provided.
Further detail on these mandated safety measures can be readily accessed by visiting this link to the official NYSED website.
Q) WHAT ABOUT THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CONTRACTORS WHO WOULD COMPLETE THE WORK?
We will prepare a Construction Implementation Plan (CIP) to inform contractors of the requirements for staging, access to construction sites and set up guidelines for the project. A milestone schedule is prepared that shows the construction schedule for the project, including restricted hours of access to construction sites and for deliveries. Prime contractors are also required to submit Health & Safety Plans specific to the project. Further, requirements are dictated as to what contractors must provide and install during construction to keep sites and occupied areas sufficiently separated. An Indoor Air Quality Management Plan would require contractors to provide, install and maintain air purifiers in existing classrooms throughout the term of construction. Finally, a Waste Management Spec Section would also be included.
Q) WHAT WILL THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF THIS PLAN BE?
As with any project of this scope, some disturbances to the natural setting are unavoidable. However, the necessary steps for optimal mitigation of these disturbances will be taken. There will be short term impacts of soil disturbance.
Regarding stormwater, this project will meet or exceed NYSDEC regulations and green infrastructure requirements. A thoughtful approach to stormwater management was an early and regular consideration in the site design process and is illustrated on the submitted site plans. Stormwater management devices will be designed to attenuate post-development stormwater runoff from 10-year and 100-year, 24-hour storm events so that they don’t exceed predevelopment rates. Additionally, the Water Quality Volume (WQV) will be captured and treated, and Runoff Reduction Volume (RRV) quantity met per NYSDEC requirements
Measures will be taken to minimize construction area and protect adjacent woodlands and to avoid long term impacts of tree removal and loss of habitat as much as possible. It should be noted that no protected plant species are known to occur on the site, nor is there any known habitat for rare or protected wildlife species. Finally, construction-related traffic and equipment noise will be minimized by efficient management of construction operations. The complete Environmental Impact Study, as well as the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) Findings Statement, have been made readily available on the district website.
Q: IN WHAT WAYS WOULD THE NEW CAMPUS UTILIZE GREEN/SUSTAINABLE DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY?
Building siting, orientation, materials, and systems will all be optimized to achieve maximum energy efficiency, long-term sustainability, and reduced operating costs. Green roofs and rooftop gardens will be installed where practical and accessible by students, and new stormwater retention areas will be utilized for outdoor educational spaces.
In parallel with the 2019 Capital Project, the Greenburgh Central School District will be leveraging an Energy Performance Contract (EPC) to implement energy-related capital improvements at Woodlands High School and LF Jackson Elementary School with no cost to the district or community. The scope of the EPC project at both buildings will include a new natural gas service, new LED interior and exterior lighting and automatic lighting controls, new and/or modernized heating and ventilation systems, and modernized HVAC controls.
Q: WHAT HAPPENS IF THE PROJECT IS VOTED DOWN ON MARCH 19?
We would have to carefully consider our next step. One option would be to prioritize and implement our buildings’ $79 million in necessary repairs over time. Not only is that an expensive option, but it then leaves us with new considerations on how to provide the further academic and support needs our students will need to compete for collegiate and career positions in our rapidly evolving economy and increasingly global community. As has been stated on this website and in public forums, while we realize that the 2019 Capital Project represents a significant investment from our community, it is a sound and fiscally responsible plan when weighed against its alternatives and taking rising interest rates and construction costs into consideration.
Q) WILL THE COMMUNITY BE ABLE TO UTILIZE THE NEW FACILITIES?
Yes! This plan offers something for everyone. Sports enthusiasts will love the new track and athletic field. There will also be outdoor play areas and educational spaces for all ages. A new auditorium with seating for 550 people will be available at the all-new school, and community and multi-use rooms are part of the design for use by local clubs and associations.
Q)HOW WILL THE DISTRICT REMAIN UNDER THE TAX CAP, WHEN THE BOND WOULD RESULT IN A 12.8% TAX INCREASE?
The Office of the New York State Comptroller’s tax cap calculation includes an exclusion for this.
TAX LEVY TO PAY FOR SOME LOCAL CAPITAL COSTS
The amount of the school district’s coming-year tax levy necessary to pay for construction/ renovation of capital facilities or equipment (including debt service and lease expenditures) and transportation capital debt service. This exclusion refers only to the portion paid with local tax dollars (i.e., does not include state building or transportation aid received).
To explore the complete detailed information, please follow this link to the Office of the State Comptroller’s website.
Q) HOW MUCH OF THE $47 MILLION IN REPAIRS AT WOODLANDS HIGH SCHOOL WOULD BE FUNDED BY THE BOND AND ENERGY PERFORMANCE CONTRACT?
None of the $47 million in necessary repairs at Woodlands HS is included in the current $114.6 million bond proposal. Woodlands HS was removed from an initial bond proposal to reduce cost in response to community feedback.
Preliminary options for offsetting the cost of renovations at Woodlands HS by applying funds gotten through the future sales of Highview and RJ Bailey have been broadly suggested, but are largely speculative and we are not able to define how that cost breakdown might look at this time. Nor are we able to make accurate estimations in regards to the Energy Performance Contract. Additionally, the New York State Education Department would require a proposed detailed savings analysis for each building to be fully funded through cost savings over a specific time period, which they would define. The District would only initiate next steps on the Energy Performance Contract based on the acceptance of $114.6 million capital project.
The following graphic highlights that the Energy Performance Contract is only to cover select renovations related to approved SED energy building components.
Q) WHAT PORTION OF THE $114.6 MILLION IS FOR RENOVATION? THE ADDITION? THE NEW BUILDING?
A general breakdown of how the $114.6 million is to be distributed across projects included in the 2019 Capital Project is as follows:
New 3-8 School: $74,043,340
+ Jackson Additions & Renovations: $25,502,452
+ Athletic Fields: $5,698,448
+ Campus Site Improvements: $8,781,351
+ New Site Utilities: $2,000,000
- Energy Performance Contract: $1,400,000
= $114.6 million
Q) WHY IS THE NEW 3-8 SCHOOL BEING BUILT SO CLOSE TO HIGH POINT?
The positioning of the new 3-8 building places it at the center of the Warburg campus, more than 700 feet (just shy of two football fields) from the site’s southern property lines. That demarcation is buffered by existing trees south of Pat Capone Road, which will remain in place.
Additionally, for our other neighbors along Saratoga Road, the expansion planned at LF Jackson will be on the southern side of the building – the furthest possible distance from those homes.
Q) COULD SENIORS BE EXEMPT FROM PAYING INTO THE TAX INCREASE RESULTING FROM THE PROJECT?
There are various tax exemptions afforded to seniors through local and federal means. Eligibility requirements and limits for these partial exemption programs are established by the appropriate government agencies. One such example of a partial exemption program can be reviewed by clicking this link to the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance.
Q) HOW LONG DO YOU EXPECT ITEMS ON THE UNIFIED CAMPUS TO REMAIN IN GOOD CONDITION?
The New York State Education Department has assigned very specific categories to all projects and provides defined terms for when subsequent major renovations may become necessary. These are outlined below. However, it is important to note that with diligent maintenance, the lifespan of renovated spaces and features, as well as new construction, can certainly extend beyond these state forecasts.
- Existing Building: A renovation to an existing building is forecasted to hold up for 15 years.
- New Addition: The expected useful lifespan of an addition with upgraded systems and finishes is 20 years.
- New Building: A new building is not expected to require major renovations for 30 years.
- Q) FOR HOW MUCH STATE AID WOULD THE $79 MILLION OPTION BE ELIGIBLE?
The current New York State Education Department Building Aid Ratio for Greenburgh is 10% of the maximum cost allowance. The exact amount of aid is determined when architectural plans have been completed and submitted to the New York State Education Department Facilities Planning. Based on current cost allowances and estimates, the district is expected to receive approximately 5.2%.
Factors contributing to a lower percentage include, but are not limited to:
- Areas that require renovation but do not qualify for aid.
- New furniture for existing structures is not generally eligible for aid.
- The total project cost for an individual building exceeds the maximum cost allowance.
- Areas that may need repair but are not classified by NEW YORK STATE EDUCATION DEPT. as major renovations do not qualify for aid. Example: A top coat sealant for an entire parking area or driveway.
The current New York State Education Dept. Building Aid Ratio for Greenburgh is lower because the district is determined to be “property wealthy”, which means a higher than average property wealth. The 2018-19 State Aid Handbook provides the following specific formula for how Greenburgh’s 10% of maximum allowable cost aid ratio was derived.
NOTE: In the above equation, 0.51 is the local share for districts of average wealth – district’s whose average Actual Value per pupil equals the State average of $738,000. For property wealthy districts, like Greenburgh, the State share is smaller. For property poor districts, the State share is larger.
Q) WILL IMPROVEMENTS AT WOODLANDS HS ENHANCE THE INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE CURRICULUM?
Greenburgh is one of only nine districts in the United States that has been chosen to offer a continuum of International Baccalaureate education from kindergarten through grade 12. With that being the case, the answer is no.
Improvements to Woodlands HS were removed from the bond when we made efforts to reduce its overall cost in response to community feedback on our initial proposal. The $114.6 million bond would allow for Woodlands HS to function as a true high school, however, with the middle school taking up residence in the new building. The alternative $79 million plan would provide for only state-mandated buildings and grounds improvements, and would not provide upgrades or enhancements to academic or support needs.
Q) WHY INSTALL A NEW TURF FIELD?
Our existing athletic field has a synthetic surface that is beyond its useful life. The plan to replace it with another synthetic surface is based on the benefits and advantages the material provides. The all-weather properties of turf fields make them resistant to rain damage, well-suited for wetter areas and support rain-or-shine competition. Turf fields also endure heavy use – well over 500 event hours – and do not require a recovery period after a game. Although we have not had a grass field in some time, it is also worth remembering that synthetic turf fields do not require growing, mowing, treatments with pesticide or other subsequent logistics and costs associated with grass fields.
To learn more, please plan to attend one of these upcoming Community Meetings:
- Wednesday, March 13 - 6:30 p.m. @ Lee F. Jackson Elementary School
We will add to this FAQ as questions come in.
Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fact Vs. Fiction
The District was recently informed that there is some erroneous information being circulated and we would like to address that here. Please see below the concerns and the facts:
The District states that the total sum of the bond to be paid by taxpayers is $114.6 million. However, once the projected interest of $82,130,765 is added, that amount will actually be $195,756,356.
Greenburgh CSD is asking taxpayers to approve the borrowing of $114.6M to finance the project, which correlates to an average tax increase of $14.00 per month per $100,000 assessed home value inclusiveof the projected interest over the course of 30 years as has been stated since the proposal became public. The tax impact incurred by Greenburgh taxpayers WILL NOT INCREASE beyond that amount. New York State Education Department guidelines substantiate that we must design and work within the voter-approved bond limit.
It is not clear whether GCSD will exercise the option to have the bond rated by Moody’s, S&P or Fitch. An investment-grade rating (equal to or above a Baa/BBB) would lower interest rates, were it attainable.
Moody’s Investor Services rated Greenburgh Central School District as having a very high quality credit rating of Aa2 as recently as March 8, 2019. This is above the median of Aa3 for schools across America. Greenburgh’s Aa2 rating reflects not only a “very strong capacity to meet [the district’s] financial commitments”, but also “an extremely small debt burden”.
Woodlands High School renovations are NOT part of the bond (but are related to it). Greenburgh’s 2018 Building Condition Survey indicates $26 million needed for those renovations, but the District leadership suggests that number is actually $47.3 million.
It is true that none of the $47 million in upgrades to Woodlands are included in the $114.6 million bond proposal. All costs related to the High School were removed from an initial bond proposal to reduce overall cost in response to community feedback. The $26 million outlined in Greenburgh’s 2018 Building Condition Survey is the amount to address only the repairs required to bring the High School up to code. The $47 million dollar figure includes all requisite repairs and additional upgrades to bring our High School to parity with others in the region who have ample space equipped with modern technology and appointment to best serve our students and support our outstanding programs.
It remains our intention to address all of the needs – required repairs and additional upgrades – at Woodlands through future budgets, as well as offsetting those costs by applying funds gotten through the future sales of Highview and RJ Bailey (see below for more on this topic) and through an Energy Performance Contract. We envision being able to do this while remaining under the tax cap.
The District’s proposed annual budget for 2019/2020 is $71,000,000, and set for a May vote.
The District is still in the final stages of finalizing its 2019/2020 budget. No official numbers have been reached or released.
RJ Bailey and Highview were assessed at $20.85 million by PATJO Appraisal Services, Inc. This is NOT a sale price. In 2008, NYSED estimated the fair-market sale price for the two properties at $2.5 million to $5 million. The two properties are zoned for single-family homes (plus a few other, potential uses), not condos or commercial buildings, which significantly limits their value to developers.
The $20 million market valuation of RJ Bailey and Highview is based on a current market analysis of both properties, and documentation of each is available at the District website.
The document referenced is a “Memorandum in Support of Legislation”, and should not be construed to be either a study or an appraisal. An appraisal is required to set the value of real estate properties, and the New York State Education Department (NYSED) does not have an office that carries out appraisals. The author of the memorandum chose carefully to use the term “estimate” in explaining their view, as the Memorandum lacks any appraisal to back up said estimate. Note that there is also no mention of “fair-market sale price” within the Memorandum.
The statement, “In 2008, NYSED estimated the fair-market sale price for the two properties at $2.5M-$5M”, is taken out of context from a bill which did not even make it to the Senate floor in 2014-15.
Further, any potential buyer of the RJ Bailey and Highview buildings would have the opportunity to seek Town approval for changes to current zoning, opening up wide development potential for both properties.