Clarkstown Council of PTAs President Heather Cahill issued
this statement on Wednesday in response to questions from Patch about parents’
concerns and questions concerning Congers Elementary School.
Since August, the Clarkstown Council of PTAs has supported the district's response in the emergency closing of Congers Elementary as well as its temporary housing at St Augustine's.
Council was continually contacted by many district parents with questions and concerns over the closing of Congers Elementary and how it would impact CCSD (Clarkstown Central School District) as a whole. Council remained positive, answered all questions to the best of its ability and encouraged parents to stay informed, ask questions, attend meetings and not listen to rumors or propaganda.
Since the November 14th Board of Education meeting when it was decided to put forth a bond in order to let the community decide the fate of Congers Elementary, Council has been contacted by countless parents with questions regarding this (February 4th) bond and its district wide implications. Unfortunately, we cannot answer these questions or direct our membership to answers because there has not been any public comment from CCSD or the Board regarding these specific concerns-the only response has been that a plan was in the process of being worked on.
The majority of the questions Council has been asked revolve around the following themes:
- How will passing the bond impact the average taxpayer?
- If Congers Elementary School is repaired, will another school or schools be closed?
- If the 2/4/14 bond is defeated:
- How much will the permanently closing of Congers Elementary save the district and the average taxpayer?
- What is the contingency plan?
- Where will the Congers Elementary students attend school starting in September 2014?
- Which schools will be the receiving schools?
- How will the additional Congers students affect the receiving schools?
- Will students who currently attend the receiving schools be redistricted to another elementary school?
- How will school lines be changed?
- Will the closing of Congers or another elementary school affect secondary placements?
- How will the closing of Congers or another elementary school affect class size and district programs?
- Will teachers and staff be eliminated?
We are less than a month from the bond vote and residents are still scratching their heads waiting for the district to publicly put forth a plan which would allow the Clarkstown residents to make an informed decision and vote with facts not possibilities, propaganda and speculation.
The residents of Clarkstown are expected to vote February 4th on a bond for which we do not have all the information.
All of the parents who have contacted Council want to know HOW the passing or defeating of this bond will directly affect their children. Parents, district wide, want to know how it will affect their child's education, their child's class size, their child's placement, as well as their own tax bill.
It has been almost five months since Congers Elementary has been closed. Five months and we really do not know any more then the school is closed due to major structural concerns and that Clarkstown residents will have the duty to evaluate the worth of Congers Elementary to the community and determine its fate. Until today, there has not been any communication, PR, or outreach to the community with facts, figures and costs other then what it will approximately cost to fix the building. We do not have an understanding as to what will happen IF the bond fails. We have no understanding of how a failed bond will affect the overall landscape of the whole district, individual school lines, programs and placements.
These are all valid concerns and questions that must be answered and communicated to residents before anyone steps into the voting booth on February 4th.
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