How Ossining Schools Can Save $60 Million

J Philip Faranda February 9, 2011

Tonight, the Ossining school board will vote on putting a $69,000,000 bond for school expansions and renovations up for referendum. 

$69,000,000.00.

The issue the district is facing is how to house the growing population of students they serve, which is a good thing. The solution, to spend almost $70 million, strikes me as not such a good thing. A few hundred extra students should not cost $70 million. Not too long ago, the high school was renovated extensively when the baby boom addition was found to have structural problems. The building was expanded later as well. Park school has had a recent addition. Presumably, all of the schools have been responsibly maintained. The superintendent of schools has characterized the initiative as “counterintuitive.” I love the salesmanship. But the price tag worries me terribly.

The breakdown is a follows:

  • $30.6 million for the high school
  • $24.6 million for the middle school
  • $500,000 for Roosevelt, which currently houses 5th grade
  • $13 million for Claremont school, including 9 new classrooms
I don’t dispute that there are capital projects needed. I don’t dispute the need for more classrooms. But I do dispute the proposed solution.
 
This June, St Ann’s school will close. St Ann has about 12 classrooms, a fine gymnasium, a relatively new library, and quite a large schoolyard. It would seem to me that you could house an entire grade of the Ossining school district right here without having to build one classroom on an existing district owned building. They could lease the space from St Ann’s parish or buy it outright. Such a move would not be unheard of. 
And it would save the district tens of millions of dollars. If it doesn’t work out, then the larger price tag proposal could be reconsidered. 

 

 

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