The Turf Isn’t Always Greener

Dear Editor:

I served on the Irvington School Board from 1979 to 1985 and was an AYSO soccer coach and referee for 20 years. My three children went through the Irvington Schools and played interscholastic sports.

The Irvington athletic fields are in disgraceful condition as a result of years of neglected maintenance.

With the economy and New York State’s fiscal crisis, the current school budget is already wrecked and the School administration and Board seem to be doing nothing to salvage the educational program. The December 17 bond issue is an additional mistake. The numbers are unexplained and preposterous. Note:

1. The athletic facilities are an integral part of the educational program – not an extra or an option. Maintenance and repair should be part of the budget and should displace other items of lower priority. The School Board should not ask the public to vote on parts of the educational program.

2. Why take a chance on the health uncertainties of plastic-rubber fields? What if 30 years later we learn it was a mistake to have our children play sports on plastic and rubber?

3. It is claimed that one problem with the fields is overuse. It is my understanding that Irvington has 65 interscholastic teams, a number which seems to be driven more by college applications than educational policy. A tiny school district the size of Irvington cannot provide a meaningful athletic experience for 65 teams. We don’t have enough students.

4. Part of the justification for plastic grass is lower maintenance, but the maintenance required for plastic fields is more than is actually done now on the grass fields. What assurance do we have that the necessary maintenance will be done?

5. Most of the items will wear out before the bond is paid. Do we then have another bond to repair or replace what we haven’t yet paid for?

6. The last bond issue for fields was defeated in part because there was something wrong with every one of the projects. Most of these mistakes reappear in the Architect’s Report dated November 12, 2008 presented by the School Board.

Sincerely yours,
Philip M. Maley, Irvington

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