Buying new property is a win-win-win for the district and Pelhamites

314 Pelhamdale Ave.

314 Pelhamdale Ave.

Any short glance at the previous articles I’ve written will show that I just about never support decisions and ideas put forward by the school district and senior administration. That being said, the proposed purchase of 314 Pelhamdale Avenue, put before the voters in just over a week’s time, is simply a no-brainer. Not only would it help finally increase the space around Colonial, which alone would be enough positive to buy this house, but it also would provide space for the new administration offices to be established.

Let’s look first at the space issues relating to the administration offices, and how this proposal will solve them. Currently, the building which houses the high school, the middle school, and the central offices is bursting at the seams. The student body in this building keeps growing and growing, to the point where the district to install new lockers in the high school over the last summer. The district often lacks a large enough meeting space in their offices, forcing them to take over entire rooms in the high school library, closing them off to students who sit there during lunch or classes trying to escape the often high temperatures in these later school months. High school art rooms are located in the middle school, forcing students to have to rush back from their art classes to their next period, and the orchestra has to share rehearsal space with assemblies, school plays, and what ever else the district needs the stage for.

The space issues are obvious. So how will this proposal help counteract that? Well, according to a district press release (found here), the area occupied by the district offices will instead by converted into new learning spaces. In addition to general purpose classrooms, Bridge academy will receive more space, as well as the Foundations of Learning program and the art programs. By voting yes on the June 18, you’ll ensure that the middle and high school students actually have enough room to learn. You’ll ensure that the district is able to move their offices out of the building, which allows these much-needed renovations to take place.

The second reason that you should vote yes next Tuesday relates to a more esoteric issue. Every student in the district will at some point pass through the middle and high school, but only some will pass through Colonial Elementary. But that shouldn’t matter. Take a drive down Pelhamdale when you have free time this week, and take a look at the space Colonial has for a playground. Compare that to any of the three other district elementary schools and you’ll realize just how little space they have. Siwanoy recently managed to install an entire new outdoor classroom without having to diminish playground space. Yet Colonial, a school which serves the same age group, and according to, over 40 more students, has significantly less space. There’s no room for any outdoor classrooms there. By saying yes, you’ll help provide even more space for these students at Colonial, even if it’s not enough. This property is directly adjacent to Colonial’s playground- a perfect place to be able to its expand it’s space. Just because your son or daughter doesn’t attend Colonial doesn’t mean you should ignore this as an issue. Think back to when you went to school: didn’t you enjoy and cherish every extra moment of recess or recreation time that your teachers gave you on the playground? Help the students at Colonial have those same feelings, and vote yes.

If those arguments aren’t compelling enough for some, I’ll add in one more. According to the same press release mentioned above, every penny of the $1.1 million price will be paid from the unassigned fund balance. Translated into laymen terms, this means NO NEW TAXES. Not a Bush-esque promise, but the actual fact that taxes won’t be raised. Nor will the renovations of the house cost any extra, as the district will be using already raised money which was intended for a rent which would be redundant if this proposal is passed.

At the end of the day, this solution couldn’t have been made any better. It benefits all parties. The high school and middle school get more space for their rapidly expanding populations. Colonial gets more room for its students to play outside. And the tax payers wouldn’t pay an extra dime. To sum it up, this is a win-win-win. Students at all levels win. Vote yes on June 18.