No Change In State Position On Congers School Aid

Added fencing around Congers Elementary School
Added fencing around Congers Elementary School

Clarkstown School District and State Education Department (SED) officials met on Monday to discuss the district’s appeal of the state’s denial of funds for repairs to Congers Elementary School. Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, who helped arrange the meeting but did not attend it, said the state did not change its decision. 

Zebrowski said the meeting gave both groups the opportunity to discuss their positions and their differing views on enrollment capacity in the district.

“SED continues to believe at this point there is a capacity within the school district and some extra classrooms,” he said.

The district and SED vary over the number of available classrooms in the schools. At Thursday’s school board meeting officials said there were less than 10 while SED’s count is much higher. Part of the difference is how classrooms used part of the time for art courses or other types of instruction are counted in the analysis. 

Zebrowski said he will work on scheduling additional meetings and conference calls directly with SED this week.

“I don’t know if there will be a full resolution before Tuesday’s meeting,” he said, adding that he will use all avenues available to him to push the state to give Clarkstown the reimbursement funds.

Zebrowski and Senator David Carlucci have both been advocating on the district’s behalf and sent a letter to SED officials last week. School Superintendent Dr. J. Thomas Morton could not be reached for comment on the meeting.

The district applied for funding equal to 55 percent of the cost of repairs. Clarkstown voters will cast ballots on a proposed $6.5 million bond on Tuesday, Feb. 4.  The school was closed in August because of unsafe conditions.

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Clarkstown School And State Education Officials To Meet On Congers Elementary Aid

Taxestoohigh January 28, 2014 at 04:05 PM
Mr. Zebrowski, who do you represent, Congers or Clarkstown?????
steve January 28, 2014 at 04:09 PM
If there are no valid numbers for repairs, then it does not take a genius to figure that it will be voted down. I agree that property values will not drop 20%, I also advocate if you do not have it do not spend it. There are plenty of ways to raise funds for the school, enforce the fines that have been levied, do not turn a blind eye
Robert Ward Kurkela January 28, 2014 at 04:47 PM
I have been trying to figure out who is behind the group Clarkstown Residents for Education. Joseph Rand's letter was sent to this group. However, I can't get anyone to tell me is involved with it. The flyer this group mass mailed is shocking. I am beginning to wonder if Board members may be involved with this group. Stay tuned...
Scott Northridge January 28, 2014 at 04:52 PM
Keep over taxing us no one will be able to afford to live in Clarkstown no matter how good the district is supposed to be. Won't have to worry about class size, more schools will have to be closed because of low attendance.
Tyler Durden January 28, 2014 at 06:01 PM
Can someone tell me how much money was spent to "upgrade" the football fields at North and South high schools? Seems to me too much attention is being paid to ball-throwing contests, and not enough to maintaining ailing infrastructure.
Mary Knapp January 28, 2014 at 07:33 PM
There are sufficient classrooms in other schools to absorb all of Congers students. The building's needs are greater than the community should and can support.
Kevin Roy January 28, 2014 at 08:28 PM
I posted this in the other article they have on this topic... As a result of this latest development, I strongly believe that voting YES for this bond results in a more severe impact for all of Clarkstown. Certainly some more than others and I empathize with my peers in Congers. However, we are talking about spending ~25% of the capital needed to repair all of our schools without receiving any State aid. Fiscally, that's irresponsible. If we assume the $25 million estimate mentioned at the November meeting is accurate, the rough math would suggest we could experience a $38 increase, on average, in taxes and fix all of our schools. All of our kids go to FFMS then to either North or South. The fact is we need a long term strategy to maximize the return of our tax dollars to insure the CCSD remains one of the best in NYS. Let's see what the study yields and then vote for a bond that covers the expenses for the resources we need. Perhaps the study results in my daughter moving to Bardonia or Strawtown from W. Nyack. If that's the case, I'm fine with it knowing that the roof over her head is safe and the quality of education remains at the level we enjoy today.
Robert Ward Kurkela January 29, 2014 at 09:59 AM
I called the number on the Clarkstown Residents for Education flyer. It is 845-230-7722. It's a male's voice on an answering machine. The number originates in Brewster. Still researching...
Speaking Out January 29, 2014 at 10:16 AM
Here's a thought...maybe this Board should have just voted to shut down the building...redistrict these children and have been done with this and when the demographers report comes back indicating we do not need all these buildings, which based on the numbers I have been seeing, will probably be the case, then this Board can set their plan for the future of this district. Now this bond is in the fate of the voters to vote based on rumor, inaccuracies, scare tactics, fliers...which by the way I to date still haven't seen one and what the recommendation is to the Board from the Supt. I as a taxpayer and resident of this community voted for these Board members to be fiscally responsible to me. I will be voting NO...I can not afford these increases any longer and maybe it is time for the entitlement to stop.
Overtaxed January 29, 2014 at 02:45 PM
just watched some of the 11/14 BOE vid again, to make sure I'm not nuts. After Joe blindsides the BOE with his 25 million bond motion, you can see the BOE members look puzzled, as they did not expect that to happen. If you then turn your attention to 1:43:34, right after the 25mm vote failed, Chris immediately motions for a $6mm bond to fix the Congers Elementary School. Mike tells Chris we need to have a discussion, and Chris withdraws that motion. After a bit of back and forth, in which Mike is taking out non essential items, he believed the number to be at $7mm. Chris then said he didn't think they needed all the windows (HUH?) and stuck by the $6mm figure. So... I ask those who keep blaming Mike and others, if the Congers only bond was Mike's idea and such a horrible idea, why did Chris (a Congers resident) motion for it? Chris, or any other board member for that matter, should have said hold up, lets slow down and try and get to a number that will fix all the schools. I dont think that happened.
One love January 30, 2014 at 09:50 AM
@RWK I called that number yesterday and got someone to answer some questions. Did anyone get back to you about who sent out the flyer??
Rockland Resident January 30, 2014 at 10:04 AM
One love, would you mind sharing what questions you asked and what answers were provided? Thank you.
Overtaxed January 30, 2014 at 10:14 AM
Great question rockland. I was going to ask. @onelove did you find out where that 12-29% value drop came from?
One love January 30, 2014 at 10:30 AM
Actually I do mind. The number Is listed above. If you have questions use the number. I did and was very interested In what they had to say. I was always a yes voter but if I was a no voter the factual Info I received could've swayed me 110%. Btw I actually hung up and checked out those facts and WOW.
Overtaxed January 30, 2014 at 11:34 AM
Why would you mind posting answers if you thought they'd help people make a decision?? Kinda makes me think that a phone call wasn't made. Hmmmm
One love January 30, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Not that your "thinking" makes any difference to me as an educated adult I beg of you to please call the number and get the answers that you are looking for. I don't know what they are buy hopefully they can answer them. My call was made yesterday at 11:07 am and ended at 11:16am.
One love January 30, 2014 at 12:37 PM
Overtaxed January 30, 2014 at 01:07 PM
Thats not the point, if you really called, you should be happy to post what you found out. I for one do not believe you made the call.
Kevin Roy January 30, 2014 at 03:43 PM
I just called at 3:43pm and no answer
Kevin Roy January 30, 2014 at 03:49 PM
I also traced the number and it's unlisted
Overtaxed January 30, 2014 at 03:55 PM
Called three times today. Once no answer. Two other times got voicemail. see if I get called back.
Rockland Resident January 30, 2014 at 03:55 PM
I'm a pretty balanced and objective person in these conversations, and would have to agree it's odd that you wouldn't share some of the info you found out. I'm not asking you to reveal the name of the person you spoke to, just the information you learned and the facts you have to back it up. My guess is they don't have facts - it's smoke and mirrors as a scare tactic.
Overtaxed January 30, 2014 at 03:57 PM
@rockland. that whole flyer is questionable
Speaking Out January 30, 2014 at 06:28 PM
I feel I need to repeat what I have been saying...this bond was put up by board members who were catering to the Congers community...all they cared about was looking good in the eyes of a crowd...folks now the bond is before you...I have not seen any flier. All I have seen is the FAQ which I feel is a pretty good indication as to where the Supt stands on all this...factual even detailed to the number of kids that would be moving per grade as of a certain date. Funny how the Supt can back up his reasoning with facts but all these people in support of the bond can't. They exaggerate, twist and turn whatever is said in their favor and have nothing to say to dispute facts...I really don't care about a vendetta, I really don't care about a bond from 2009, I really don't care who is to blame. I care about what I can no longer afford and that is the increase in my taxes...the lies, deceit, scare tactics and manipulation alone are enough for me to vote NO. I will urge my friends and neighbors to do the same.
Clarkstown Dad January 30, 2014 at 06:32 PM
Not sure why I didn't realize this before ... but just read the FAQs again on the school site. Since the State will not give us the 55% aid to fix Congers as they say we have excess capacity this will spill over. Let's say Bond passes and we fix Congers without the State's assistance. The same will then hold true when we need aid to fix other buildings since we will now have even more capacity with Congers being open again. So making up a name, let's say we want to do Capital Improvements on Lakewood. Normally the State would grant aid of 55%, now they will not since we have excess capacity by virtue of Congers reopening. So how much is this $6.5 Mill bond really going to cost the district??? ..... and when we put the Congers work out for bid ala the North heating system what numbers will really come back? Sorry folks it is just not worth it ..... it will put us so much further into this hole if it passes.
One love January 30, 2014 at 07:29 PM
Ok so I'm going to pacify you all. What questions do you have? If they were the same ones that I have I would be more than happy to answer them. Better?
Robert Ward Kurkela January 30, 2014 at 10:51 PM
* Board of Education Meeting 11.14.13 @ Felix Festa Video ** http://ccsd.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=191
Robert Ward Kurkela January 30, 2014 at 10:56 PM
Here are some snippets to watch: Mr. Aglialoro moves agenda item #1.08 Discussion on Student Data to #1.05 Comments from the floor on agenda items 6:40 Mr. Malgieri states: "People from the audience may want to comment on that before we have our presentation." (Audience members can be heard asking about this) Mr. Malgieri then asks: "You want them to have the information before they comment?" Mr. Aglialoro: "Yes, yes, that was the point." 14:23 After Mr. Sobel's presentation, Mr. Malgieri questions Mr. Sobel about the FERPA Law. He Lists the people who are able to access the data, including a volunteer in the school. 16:03 Crowd applauds Mr. Malgieri when he finishes.
 Agenda Item #1.08 (now #1.05) Discussion on Student Data Type: Information, Discussion 0:00 - 32:00 RTTT Discussion (NOT ACTION/VOTE) Mr. Malgieri states: "I agree with you Chris. Let's make a motion." Mr. Conti states: "I thought this was informational only?" Mr. Malgieri states: "We can make a motion." Mr Malgieri states: "Make the motion" 1:16:00 A woman is about to speak about RTTT when someone from the back of the auditorium challenges Mike Aglialoro. Who is this? 

 Agenda Item #1.09 Discussion on Congers Elementary Type: Information, Discussion (NOT ACTION/VOTE)1:27:50 "Discussion on Congers Elementary" begins
 1:48:00 Diane Hoeneveld states "I don't want to divide the community" There is one Board member noticeably absent on the podium
 · 1:53:00 - 1:57:00 South Student Representative Jennifer Hopkins is speaking and is then heckled
Robert Ward Kurkela January 30, 2014 at 11:15 PM
CSD DISTRICT POLICY RESPONSIBILITIES OF SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS 8220 Each school board member, operating under high ethical standards: 3. transacts school board business only in regular sessions: all official school board business should be transacted only at official meetings of the board and only with the concurrence of a majority of the board 4. represents the entire community to the best of his or her ability: any action by a board member should be in the best interest of the entire community in the judgment of the board member 5. performs official duties as an individual trustee only in accordance with direction from the board: the work of the board is a collective effort under the law and individual board members have no individual authority except as delegated by the board 9. recognizes the rights of all board members: D. each board member will maintain confidentiality of executive session information Policy adopted: March 14, 1983 Clarkstown Central School District amended: January 28, 1991
Speaking Out January 31, 2014 at 12:26 PM
This is a completely emotional issue for 1 community with no rational behind any of their issues. What I know to be FACT is: no state aid, $26/year if my house is assessed at $140k, which by the way it is higher, enough room in other buildings to accommodate these 200 children, a bus ride which is closer than going to Middle school, btw if Congers residents don't realize this, your children go across the causeway for Middle School and High School, a savings of $1.25mm which in turn will save other programs in this District. I will be voting NO simply for what the facts are...declining enrollment and NO tax increase!! To ask for guarantees is just simply ridiculous....


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