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POLL: Rye residents voice mixed feelings on proposed $19.9M bond referendum

Rye City school district residents share their opinion about the $19.9M proposed bond vote Tuesday.

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. 

Bob Zahm December 12, 2011 at 09:04 PM
@Chris - I did not say vote "No" on the bond. You're rationalizing your decision. I did say that how you vote on the bond will have an immaterial impact on the budget as the 23% growth is from expenses other than the bond and 2% from the bond.
chris December 12, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Bob -- you said NO on earlier budget initiative -- and that passed with minimal opposition. I am firm on the fiscal irresponsibility and over-reaching scope of the Bond -- and the need to set limits on the never ending tax hikes in this community. Cut this in half -- focus it on what really is NEEDED, and then ask for a responsible vote.
Bob Zahm December 12, 2011 at 09:35 PM
Thank you for explaining that you're voting "No" based on your analysis, not mine. I think you make a mistake tying responsibility for budget growth to the proposed bond because spending will grow w/ or w/o the bond unless budgeting practices and unfunded mandates change. And yes, I voted "No" on last year's budget (and the year prior) because there were too many expenses budgeted to increase w/o a basis for doing so. If the same happens with the next budget, I'll vote "No" again - that is, after all, a large reason for how the District runs surpluses year in and year out.
Rye Homeowner December 13, 2011 at 02:23 AM
We'll be voting "Yes" tomorrow. After touring the HS/MS recently, it's clear to any reasonable person that the overall facilities are in desperate need of improvement and expansion. Frankly, the labs are a health and safety hazard. Sadly, the community has "kicked the can" for too long unitl now it has caught-up with us all. With interest-rates at historic lows and excess construction capacity available this is an ideal time to make the necessary investment....wait and we'll just pay more in either higher taxes or lower home values.
sp December 13, 2011 at 06:06 PM
I moved to Rye years ago for the schools. I want to see my daughter have the same quality facilities that drew us to Rye and caused us to pay a premium for our house. People are forgetting that good schools are one of the big things that keep our housing prices high!

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