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Croton School District Bond Measures Fail to Pass

March 12, 2008

Yesterday, Tuesday, March 11, 2008, voters in the Croton-Harmon school district voted against both pending bond referendums put forward by the board of education that totaled $7 million in planned spending.

Bond Referendum 1—that included various education and safety considerations pegged at $4.6 million—failed by a margin of 513 to 449. Also rejected was Bond Referendum 2—for health and wellness improvements estimated at $2.4 million—which lost by a wider margin of 567 to 390.

Complete details about the proposed bond and information about the Croton-Harmon Unioin Free School District can be found on their website, at www.croton-harmonschooldistrict.org.

On March 17, 2008 8:49 PM, bob10520 said:

I’m sorry but I’m tired of hear “but it’s for the kids” as though mortgaging our future some how guarantees brilliant returns. If the amount of money spent by a school district; including the salary and benefits of the superintendent; really created a better learning environment then all of the top colleges in the county would be populated by students from Westchester given the budgets of these school districts.

Does anyone remember that when the proposition to borrow money for the additions to CET were made in the 90’s that the so called multi-purpose room was suppose to have as one of it’s purposes service of lunches. No lunch service!

The same claim was made when the monstrous bond was proposed for the construction on the High School and PVC. Still no lunch service!

By the way there were a whole lot of people who voted against that proposal not just the few mentioned here.

Now it’s time for round three with the same selling point “lunches” among other things such as science lab improvements. For those that did vote did you notice that none of the stated reasons for the borrowing were mentioned in the proposals being voted on? The proposals were very generic and would have allowed the use of the borrowed money for virtually any construction purpose. Why can’t they state the specific improvements they are to use the money for?

For those lamenting the lost opportunity fear not you will see the proposal again at the school budget vote. Hey the budget is only 41 million what’s another 6 million among friends.

Given that we are still paying for all of those previous projects lets hope the current economic troubles of the State Government don’t give way to a failure to renew the Star Program. If it does we might as well all sell; oh that’s right high taxes drive down house values. Oops stupid me.

Bob

On March 16, 2008 9:25 AM, TeaDrinker said:

Waffels:

In a recent search, I found this document:

Decision No. 14,527 - Appeal of JONATHAN KARPOFF, WILLIAM GRIFF and ELLEN S. DAVIS, from action of the Board of Education of the Croton-Harmon Union Free School District and Superintendent Marjorie Castro regarding a bond referendum.

Indeed, Mr. Karpoff is one of three individuals listed on this appeal.

However, as reported by Crotonblog yesterday in “Crotonblog’s Picks in the Coming Election,” and confirmed by the finding of this petition, trustee candidate Joe Streany was directly involved in this lawsuit and affected its outcome.

Some notable passages in the decision relevant to Mr. Streany’s involvement include:

“Petitioners [JONATHAN KARPOFF, WILLIAM GRIFF and ELLEN S. DAVIS] allege that respondents improperly expended public funds to produce and distribute literature that advocated approval of the capital project and that district personnel took other actions to promote its passage.”

“They [Board of Education of the Croton-Harmon Union Free School District and Superintendent Marjorie Castro] further acknowledge that a letter signed by the Athletic Director on department letterhead improperly asked recipients to vote for the proposed borrowing. However, they assert that this letter was prepared without their knowledge or approval, that the Athletic Director was reprimanded for sending it and that the Booster Club [Joe Streany, co-president] assumed all the expense of preparing and distributing the letter. They deny that students were required to prepare copies of the letter for mailing during class time.”

“While a board of education may disseminate information “reasonably necessary” to educate and inform voters, its use of district resources to distribute materials designed “to exhort the electorate to cast their ballots in support of a particular position advocated by the board” violates the constitutional prohibition against using public funds to promote a partisan position (Phillips v. Maurer, supra; Appeal of Allen, 32 Ed Dept Rep 69, Decision No. 12,761).”

“I [Richard P. Mills, Commissioner of Education and President of the University] also have examined the document attached to the petition as Exhibit C, a letter signed by the district’s Athletic Director and the two co-presidents [Joe Streany] of the Croton Booster Club. The letter, which is printed on Athletic Department letterhead, describes the athletic facilities to be financed by the proposed bond issue and asks recipients to “please support this bond.” Respondents concede that the letter constitutes impermissible advocacy.”

On March 15, 2008 11:28 AM, coldstorage5 said:

Regarding the quality of our schools… Didnt we have a student win/earn a Westinghouse award last year???One of the most coveted awards in our county. Plus our schools have many students going to great schools. In addition, we get a great bang for the buck.. We get a lot for our tax dollars here.. Those other schools I mentioned have a much higher % school tax. Would should really appreciate and support the schools here. Take Care CS

On March 14, 2008 8:46 AM, waffels said:

The debacle with the previous bond can only be blamed on Jonathan Karpov…….one individual affected the entire outcome……go back and check the history……

On March 14, 2008 8:05 AM, SSmith said:

the vote was not well publicized first of all. secondly, taxes here are way high enough with the school district as one of the main drivers of that.

the last time we approved a huge borrowing for the SD here to the tune of many millions of $ it ended up running way over budget and required additional borrowing. we are afraid of that again. fool me once….

demand for homes is in the can for the next few years even if our schools were the best in the world. our country is in what looks to be a brutal recessionary/stagflationary period. it is going to get much worse. school cafeterias won’t save our propety market here and certainly higher taxes won’t either.

Frankly, i’d like to see the curriculum in our schools become more demanding of our students…how many kids from up here go to ivy schools & or top notch colleges each year vs. the higher priced districts you mention? i think you’d find the #’s disappointing. i’d like to see my hard earned tax $ going toward improving math & science here instead of paying for 100+ cafeteria workers giving my kids marginally healthy food. i don’t want to pay scarsdale-like taxes which is why i chose to live here….i am not alone in this and the vote proves it.

On March 13, 2008 10:51 PM, coldstorage5 said:

Hi, This is terrible news. First of all how come very few people heard about this bond. I know I’m busy with family and work, but my head is not in the sand. This was barely out there. The CSD needs to sell this better so families can vote to improve our schools.

Now why is it that we have so many people against schools??? Children are our future ( this may sound corny, but it is true). We need to place them in the best possible enviroment so they can learn. Yes living in Westchester is very expensive, but we do get a lot back. Police service, sanitation, Firemen, EMS, schools all top notch. Finally, for all of the no voters…

Better school=more demand for homes, More demand=higher house value

Most people who shop for homes, want good schools Look at the highest priced homes. Rye, Scarsdale, Chappaqua, Briarcliff, all have great schools.

Lets give the kids the best!

Thank You, Steve Yurek



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