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Congers Elementary Realignment, Taxpayer Cost For Repair Bond

The Clarkstown Central School District is providing more details about the $6.5 million bond proposed for repairs to the now closed Congers Elementary School and will share details of a proposed student realignment at Thursday’s board of education meeting. The bond, scheduled for a February 4th vote, would cost the average homeowner $26 yearly without state aid and $10 annually with state aid. The state education department denied Clarkstown’s application for funding on Monday but the district has appealed that ruling.

On Thursday, School Superintendent Dr. J. Thomas Morton will present a proposed redistricting plan for Congers students that would transfer them to the New City and Lakewood elementary schools whether the bond passes or not. Congers’ approximately 300 students have been attending classes in the former St. Augustine’s School in New City since mid October. Dr. Morton said he does not think the district should spend the additional funds to rent St. Augustine’s again and repairs to Congers Elementary would take many months. 

His proposal to the school board would eliminate eight teaching positions because it will reduce the number of elementary classes.

Currently there are 45 (classes) in the three buildings,” Dr. Morton said. “With this proposal there will be 37 (classes) in two buildings.” 

After Congers Elementary was closed in late August because it was determined to be structurally unsafe, students were initially reassigned to the New City, Lakewood and Laurel Plains elementary schools but kept in separate classes. Under the superintendent’s recommendation they would become part of the general student body at the two schools. 

Dr. Morton emphasized his proposal is limited to Congers elementary students.

“Nobody from New City (elementary) is moving,” he said. “Nobody from Lakewood (elementary) is moving.”

The proposal has not yet been discussed with the Clarkstown Teachers Association.

Whether the bond is approved or not, it is likely there will be redistricting in Clarkstown because of decreasing enrollment.

“But in terms of capacity we have capacity to keep students in less buildings than we have,” said Dr. Morton. 

He will explain at the meeting his recommendation for how many students from each grade would attend each school. The proposal is designed to keep siblings and children from the same neighborhood together. 

The district scheduled a forum on the bond proposal for Thursday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. at the district office at 62 Old Middletown Road in New City. The public vote on the $6.5 million bond is set for Tuesday, Feb. 4 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at four polling locations. The homeowner costs for the bond are based on an average assessed home value of $140,000 and approximate market value of $440,000.  The term of the bond would depend on whether the district received state aid or not. The bond would be issued for 15 years without state aid. If the district’s appeal for state aid is successful, the bond would be issued for 30 years.

A flyer prepared by the district and distributed Wednesday breaks down the costs of the school’s repairs and reconstruction into categories.

Reconstruction of the original 1927 building gym walls would cost $1,586,753. It would involve removal and reconstruction of the south and west side gym walls and structural repair of the east side gym wall. The reconstruction of the original 1927 north and east side exterior walls would run $3,056,202. 

Removal and reconstruction of the north and east wall sections of the original 1927 building requires roof replacement at a cost of $933,604. The roofs on the 1956 and 1970 sections of the building would also be replaced.

Installation of ADA accessibility upgrades for the main school entrance, main floor bathroom facilities and one main floor mid-corridor ramp carry a price tag of $350,000.

Window replacements in the portions of the building constructed in 1956 and 1970 are expected to cost $573,441.

On February 4th, District 1 voters will cast ballots at Clarkstown North, District 2 at Lakewood Elementary School, District 3 at Link Elementary School and District 4 at West Nyack Elementary School. Absentee ballot applications can be obtained online at www.ccsd.edu or by calling or visiting the district clerk’s office at 845-639-6455 or 62 Old Middletown Road.

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Additional Engineering Study Of Congers Elementary Approved

Board Vote to Finalize Lease For St. Augustine's

Congers Classes Moving To St. Augustine's Over Columbus Day

Congers Students Will Move To St. Augustine's School 

Congers Kids Want Their School Fixed

Motion To Move Congers Students To St. Augustine's Not Supported

New School Visits Scheduled For Congers Students

New School Tours Available For Congers Families

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Congers Elementary School Closed For At Least One Year

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ADK January 15, 2014 at 05:32 PM
Although I don't know Mr Rand, I respect his opinion and Real Estate knowledge, however the history of Clarkstown Schools suggest that he is incorrect...Street School, which has been closed for some time is in the "general" neighborhood of the highest priced homes in the area...there was no drop off when it closed, in fact, housing prices and the price for new homes in that area approach or exceed a million dollars. People who will buy homes AFTER the closure of a school are the least affected...they have no history with the school...luckily, our District is relatively compact...the distance one will travel to a school is not overly taxing...(new city elementary from Congers elementary is about a 5 minute drive...Lakewood even less)...at one time we had 13,000 students...we now have approx 9000, we "survived" the closure of Street school, Chestnut Grove and Birchwood as a general purpose elementary school without suffering property value erosion. We simply do not have now, and won't for the foreseeable future (if ever) the student population to support all these buildings...it's why NYS rejected the funding for Congers...one may argue that a different school should be contracted...if that is supported by the various studies being done, and it makes more sense to "fix" Congers (admittedly unlikely) then that plan should be considered...it's why this bond is very much "ready, fire, aim". Lets spend the time and attention required for a decision of this magnitude...suspend the bond vote, keep the students at St Augustine's for one more year (it's the right thing to do) and then choose the plan that is supported by facts, not emotion.
Christian Jauntig January 15, 2014 at 11:06 PM
I just want to make a correction, we will not be saving 1.5 million year after year. Money will still be spent although reduced for maintenance, utility, and security. Also if the bond fails we will be paying at least $60,000 to secure the wall
Disgusted ClarkstownRES January 16, 2014 at 06:58 AM
Christian...the 1.5 million in savings comes from the reduction in staff so that money would reduce the budget year after year unless we decide to hire back that amount of staff...so that reduction does come from the bottom line of our budget. The $60K is a 1 time expense, that is not an expense that is paid out yearly....that was the point I was attempting to make. Bottom line is we need to reduce our budget (decrease expenses), consolidate our schools, which by the way has been discussed for several years, and continue to give our children a quality education. Going over numbers this seems like a logical solution because all the children can be housed in these other 2 buildings, this building is 90+ years old and needs extensive repair. That's all I'm saying
Christian Jauntig January 16, 2014 at 07:22 AM
If no money at all is paid to Congers School (lets pretend for this post it doesnt exist) and we add the staff cuts that were discussed into the expenses of the building, We are still left with 99.34% of the budget. That is not even 1% of our budget in "savings" (i say that because cutting staff is not considered saving to me)
One love March 06, 2014 at 12:33 AM
So quiet lately. Amazing. Congrats to my fellow Clarkstown Residents for getting the YES vote out There. It was amazing and I know we have the power to make a difference. And we will! Power in numbers!!

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