WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains Schools Superintendent Chris Clouet is hopeful the public will pass the $48.2 million bond for improvements throughout the district.
“I know that we’ve done a lot of work to explain the details to people and I’m confident that we have made the case that this is a good investment for the community – keeping the schools in good shape,” said Clouet.
If the public votes in favor of the bond, it would raise the school tax levy 0.72 percent, which would result in a $65.12 increase in taxes for the average property owner.
The three areas of improvement would be roof repairs, playground upgrades, and the addition of WiFi capability to numerous schools.
“We have a number of buildings that were built in the 1920s and like any building, including homes, it requires cycles of maintenance,” said Clouet. “We’ve got to a point where we need to do some very serious roof work in two of our buildings. In addition to that, we want to upgrade significantly our playgrounds, which are used by the entire community.”
He said that the textbook publishing businesses and research sources “are increasingly moving online,” which means many students do not have access due to “the old model computer lab.”
WiFi would also allow the district to wireless control its heating, lighting, and air-conditioning systems, said Frank Stefanelli, director of facilities and operations, in a press release.
“Whether you pull wires or you install wireless, both cost money,” said Clouet of any public opposition to WiFi installation. “We see wireless in the long run as helping us avoid cost.”
Some of the costs include $22.5 million in renovations for Eastview School, $4.8 million to add WiFi throughout the district, and $200,000 to upgrade playgrounds.
The 2012 Facility Task Force recommended the proposed building and facility improvements. There are 18 district and community members, including architects and planners, who make up the task force, which assessed the condition of district buildings over seven months, a news release said.
The public will vote on the bond on Oct. 23 from 12 to 9 p.m. at regular school district voting locations.