School Board To Detail, Discuss Congers Elementary Repair Bond

The $6.5 million bond to repair Congers Elementary School goes before the public for a vote in 12 days. The Clarkstown School Board scheduled a community forum and bond presentation on the proposed expenditure for tonight’s meeting. 

The subject is highly controversial with community members and the Clarkstown PTA Council stating that many questions remain unanswered by the administration. The district distributed a flyer on January 8th with information about how much the reconstruction and repairs would cost for specific parts of the school, a portion of which is 87 years old. 

Residents have been split over the school’s fate. They have been voicing differing opinions over whether the building should be repaired or closed and the potential impacts on property values, the Congers community and school budget.

The New York State Education Department turned down the district’s application for reimbursement for the proposed repair project on January 6th. The district appealed the decision and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski recently met with SED officials and asked them to reconsider. Without state aid, the bond would cost homeowners an average of $26 over 15 years and $10 yearly over 30 years with state aid.   

The school was closed in late August after it was declared unsafe. 

In anticipation of a large turnout, the 8 p.m. board meeting will take place at Clarkstown South High School.  

The board’s agenda also includes a presentation on curriculum changes. Additionally, board members will vote on approving tax certiorari settlements totaling almost $52,000 for Paul Muni Realty of New City and more than 30 Clarkstown property owners. 

Muni Realty appealed tax valuation for 2009 through 2013 and the settlement would reimburse the firm $18,741 for a two-story office building at 169 South Main Street. The property owners in New City, Nanuet, Congers, Bardonia and West Nyack would receive a total of $33,192 in refunds for appeals filed for 2012 and 2013.   

Rockland Resident January 24, 2014 at 10:28 AM
Madeline, all of the information is available on the district web site and was also published in various news sources. Most flyers are distributed electronically and posted online, which saves paper and dollars. You can view the calendar online at: http://www.ccsd.edu/.
Antonia Sambevski January 25, 2014 at 01:40 AM
The bond is important to pass because if it doesn't and the school is closed the public will no longer have any say as to what happens to that building and the acres it sits on. It can be sold to the highest bidder, but only after we pay to have it fixed in order to get a Certificate of Occupancy. Joe Rand from Prudential Rand Realty wrote a 3 page letter outlining how the closing of the school will substantially lower property values in the surrounding areas. People will not be flocking to Congers and North New City to buy houses to put there kids in already crowded schools and anyone who thinks Voting No means your communities won't get redistricted is being seriously naive.
Antonia Sambevski January 25, 2014 at 01:42 AM
I just went to the district website and was reading the engineer reports for Congers School. I invite others to do the same; The recommendations was the following: ______________________________________________________________________ from Mr. Thomas Ritzenthaler CSArch 19 Front Street Newburgh, New York 12550 "The following are our recommendations: 1. The gym area and the exterior area south of the wall should not be occupied. Although there are no indications that the wall is in imminent danger of collapse, high wind loads cannot be safely resisted by the wall. The potential collapse of the wall during high winds could block emergency exits, resulting in an unsafe occupancy of the school." ___________________________________________________________________ I read that as the school is completely habitable other than the gym and its exterior space and in the case of high winds a collapse might block emergency exits. Please correct me if I am wrong. Why couldn't school go on as usual. Close the Gym and rope off the exterior area to the south wall. Sure up the walls for the $60,000 to prevent the collapse during high winds. Spend another $100K to put up an insulated temporary fabric multipurpose building to be used for Gym and Assemblies etc. on the back field area and the kids could have been back in Congers by Columbus Day rather than having to have moved to St. Augustines at half the cost of renting for $300,000. Then the school board could have gone back to their jobs of figuring out how to save $10 million dollars in the budget rather than twist an turn to try to destroy a community and divide a district. We have been taken for a ride Congers!!! http://www.ccsd.edu/files/filesystem/CongersReport8-29-13.pdfistrict ccsd.edu
Rockland Resident January 25, 2014 at 01:47 AM
I responded to the thread with Joe Rand's letter. I certainly respected his points but did not agree with them. Redistricting is better than bankruptcy. Even with one school closed and redistricting, the schools won't be packed - there's been a decline in student enrollment over the past several years, so there is room right now. We closed schools in the past and things turned out fine - people still moved to New City and Congers, kids still got educated. A lot of people don't want any bond to pass and increase their taxes. Many others want a bond that also fixes their schools that need repairs as well, not just focuses on one.
mike sullivan January 25, 2014 at 08:24 AM
Do not believe the only $26.00 taxes will go up.We MUST vote this bond down.Close the school and redistrict


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