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Eastchester School Board Awaits Next Week's Bond Vote

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – A small crowd, comprised mostly of supporters, filled the Eastchester High School Library Tuesday night for an informational session on a proposed bond vote.

Voters will go the polls Oct. 12, to either pass or reject the board of education’s proposed $12.8 million dollar bond referendum.

If passed, the money will be used to build a two-story addition to Eastchester Middle School, which the school officials consider overpopulated.

"This year the building capacity is exceeded by 181 students," said Middle School Principal Dr. Walter Moran. "By 2016, this building, if not expanded, will exceed capacity by 275 students."

High School senior Brian Cimons, editor of the school newspaper, the Eaglet, said he had written about the bond in the upcoming issue of the paper due out next Tuesday, the day before the vote.

Cimons attended Tuesday night's meeting and looked on while his mom, Caroline, told the board that though she is in support of the bond, there were many in town against it.

"I feel that all the board keeps on talking about is how much the space is needed, everyone knows it is needed, there is no doubt about that," Cimons said. "But people are afraid they will not be able to afford to live here if taxes go up."

Caroline Cimons said the board has not addressed what other options were considered before the bond was recommended. The financial implications of other options were not outlined either, she said.

She added that after looking over the letters and emails she has received about the bond, and watching a video made by the district, she feels that some important information was not provided.

"I don't think the board has spent enough time letting the community know what will happen to our property values if the bond does not go through," she said. "I think people need more information other than how crowded the school is."

Eastchester schools have not been able to get voters to support a bond since 2000 when a $12.3 million bond was approved. Those funds paid to add four classrooms and renovate the gym and cafeteria at Greenvale School, added a 12 classroom wing to Waverly School and added two classrooms to Anne Hutch School.

A bond for more than $25 million failed to win voter approval in 2006. In 2008, voters also nixed a two pronged vote, one for roughly $19 million and a second for $5 million.

The board originally considered proposing a $26 million bond, which would have added space onto the middle school and high school, but nixed that plan in favor of only adding space to the middle school.

Under the current plan, the bond would support a two-story addition that will wrap around the middle school gym and down its side. The new space will add 14 classrooms, including two science labs. Five bathrooms and an elevator will be added, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The cafeteria will be expanded as well.

Moran has said that students have been reduced to 20 minute lunch periods, and gym classes can have as many as 90 students in one class.

High School Principal Jeff Capuano lives in the district and has two children attending school there.

"This is a no frills addition, just four walls and a roof," Capuano said. "I don't want us to be known as the district that holds AP calculus classes in the gym.”

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