Briarcliff Schools Bond Vote Passes 363-42

The $1,525,000 bond approval gives the green light to address mandatory field work and asbestos removal.

Photo credit: Briarcliff Schools
Photo credit: Briarcliff Schools

The Briarcliff Union Free School District has received the community’s approval for a bond for a capital project with 363 votes to 42 votes.

The vote, which ultimately gives the green light to address mandatory field work and asbestos removal, was held at Todd Elementary School from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21. More than 400 residents braved a snowstorm that sent the district’s students home by 11:30 a.m. to cast their vote.

The Board of Education—Jennifer Rosen, Dina Brantman, Michael Haberman, Jonathan Satran, and Paul Wasserman—issued the following statement:

“The Board of Education would like to thank the community for giving its approval to allow the District to undertake a capital project that includes: the remediation and refurbishment of the practice field on the Briarcliff Middle/High School campus; purchasing land needed to complete the practice field project; removing asbestos at Todd Elementary School, and issuing bonds to finance these projects. We appreciate your ongoing support of our schools.”

The total cost of the project is projected to be $2,275,966. As the district has approximately $750,966 left in the reserve established in 2010 to help offset the cost of the field remediation, the district needed the approval to bond $1,525,000, which will be paid back over 10 years. 

The repayment of the interest and principal is estimated to increase the total tax levy by approximately 0.45 percent each year, beginning in 2015-2016.

“Since our Remedial Action Work Plan was approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) over a year ago, the District has been in regular contact with involved state agencies to keep the process moving forward so that our students and community can benefit from the full complement of fields available in Briarcliff,” Superintendent of Schools James Kaishian said.

“A bond issue is the most responsible option to fund this project – it minimizes the impact it will have on our budget and will not compromise our ability to support current and future programmatic needs. Significant reserve monies are already being used to offset the total cost,” he added.

In accordance with a NYSDEC consent order, the district is legally obligated to conduct the field work--regardless of the outcome of yesterday’s vote. If the proposed capital project and bond were not approved by the community, the district would have been required to undertake the project, leaving the entire $1,525,000 tab on its 2014-2015 school budget.

For more information about the capital project and the bond, click here

Residents can find more information about the vote on the Briarcliff Manor School District website at www.briarcliffschools.org under the Athletic Fields Restoration icon on the homepage. Residents may also ask questions by contacting Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Stuart Mattey at 941-8880 ext. 4016 or by emailing him at smattey@briarcliffschools.org. 

Ask Questions. Demand Answers January 22, 2014 at 01:41 PM
Briarcliff has once again been shnookered by their Board of Education. Terrorized into believing that if they don’t approve millions of debt, their BOE will rip the guts out of our prized educational component of our budget. And the terror plot worked, as it has previously for this and previous iterations of our BOE. Approve this budget, approve this bond, or we will push the plunger and blow up your prized academic program. We’ll shutter programs. We’ll discontinue sports. We’ll fire teachers. We’ll turn the heat down to 60 degrees and freeze your children. And the residents of Briarcliff once again responded like good little sheep and went out to approve ridiculous $2.3 million expenditure. No one asked questions. No one sought alternatives solutions. No one asked WHY? WHY did the cost of remediating the practice field quadruple from an estimated $500K to over $2 million? WHY are we now spending more on the practice field than we are spending to recondition the game day field and track with artificial turf and the finest coverings? WHY should we spend $2 million on an odd-shaped piece of land that has no real utility other than practice situations? Can we go back and revisit the other (less expensive) alternative remediation solutions for the practice field and offer one of them to the DEC instead? For a few hundred thousand dollars (and no bond) we could pave over that relatively useless, tainted patch of land. THAT would have been fiscally prudent and responsible. Not terrorizing the district into believing that if they don’t approve a bond issue the BOE will torpedo our educational program. Anyone who actually believes that our BOE would (or could) actually follow through on their terroristic threat has simply not thought this through. Spend a few moments and think about this fictitious scenario: Yesterday’s bond vote fails. The school board then announces $2.3 million in cuts to core academic and sports programs (as they promised to do in their terrorist rhetoric). Now imagine the volcanic uprising of parents and students district-wide to this ridiculous course of action. Guess what would happen next? The BOE would go back to revisit the less expensive remediation options and offer one of those to the DEC for approval to SAVE our educational and sports programs.
Omar Sharif January 22, 2014 at 02:29 PM
A good turnout and result given the weather and scare tactics used to influence people who have no children in school. Was the district not legally obliged to undertake this work?
Ask Questions. Demand Answers January 22, 2014 at 02:40 PM
The district was obliged to remediate the field. We had options. This option, when it became fiscally imprudent, needed to be scrapped. There were other options that were intensely less expensive, would not have required a bond vote, and would be perfectly acceptable to the DEC if we amended our remediation plan.


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