Rye City residents have varying opinions on upcoming school bond referendum– Will it be positive or negative for the school district and the Rye community?
The revenue generated from the proposed $19,996,000 dollar bond referendum will be used to construct 16 new classrooms, 12 science labs and 4 general education classrooms. Completion could be completed by the 2014-2015 school year. The district says there is a necessity for more modern learning facilities as well as bathrooms and locker rooms.
If the bond referendum succeeds, Rye residents will pay an average $47.17 increase in taxes for the first year that will increase to $300 by the year 2015.
Wendy Bafone has children in the middle school and high school: “I am for the bond. I feel that with the amount of kids that need the space, we need the updates for facilities, such as bathrooms, classrooms, nurse’s office. Enrollment has increased greatly.”
Nancy Pasquale, also a school district parent agrees: “The current third grade class is 273 students. At one point, there was a perception or an idea that this enrollment expansion was, in fact, a bubble. The reality is, if you look through that third grade class which would be the Rye High School class of 2021, there’s no decline in enrollment.”
But parent Ed Pellen isn't as enthusiastic: “My biggest concern is the impact…on our houses and taxes…everything’s growing out of proportion.”
But parents aren't the only residents who will vote on the referendum or shoulder its costs. Rye residents without children in the school district also have opinions.
Tom Fendler said: “I’m against the bond issue… I do not think it’s been properly presented…I think it’s been pushed through.”
Bill Becker thinks under current economic conditions, support for the bond is unrealistic: “I can’t see why they can’t just renovate the classrooms. Why do they have to replace them? If they can teach foreign languages in elementary school, why can’t they juggle the resources that they have in order to do this?”
Parent Nancy Pasquale disagrees with that strategy: “I believe that they have not included anything other than the absolute core needs, so that there’s room for kids to sit in desks and get the public education they deserve. I think every child in Rye, regardless of income, should have the ability to get the excellent education that the Rye City School District provides. I think that’s our obligation as a community.”
The bond referendum vote is Tuesday, December 13, 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. in the Rye Middle School Gymnasium.