Dear Briarcliff Friends,
We are all former members of the Briarcliff Manor Board of Education and long-term residents of the school district. One of us currently has children in the schools while the rest of us are now empty-nesters. We have not always agreed on every issue, but we are unanimous in urging you to support our schools with a YES vote for the Capital Project on Thursday, December 13th. Our reasoning is simple:
Safe 21st Century Learning Spaces for Briarcliff Students: Unfortunately, in today’s world we must think differently about security in our schools. This plan will make our schools safer while providing academic facilities to accommodate the updated classroom practices that are the hallmark of 21st century learning. The Briarcliff community’s history of investing in our schools has served us well. Now, after over 50 years of static learning spaces, our students need environments that encourage discovery, cooperation and curiosity.
The Plan is Tax Neutral: This bond will not raise our taxes. In fact, the way the bond is structured, the district’s debt service will decline beginning in 2020. Yes, the overall bond is a big number, but 23% of that will be supported by state building aid and the rest will be paid out over 20 years. The timing is strategic. There have been proposals by government leaders to make changes to state aid programs and our district’s aid may be reduced in the future. This is a unique opportunity to make significant improvements without raising taxes.
A Collaborative, Transparent and Thoughtful Process: The entire community was invited to serve on the Long-Range Planning Committee, and in the end a committee of citizens representing current parents, empty-nesters, administrators, and faculty was formed. They worked with a highly regarded architectural firm for 18 months before making their recommendations to the Board of Education. Based on feedback from the community, the Board of Education revised the plan in many ways and reduced the scope of the project before it was put before the community for a vote. And the opportunity for feedback will continue if the bond is passed – the current plan still needs to be refined and finalized and the process will be public and open throughout.
In short, this plan will make our schools safer and help our students remain competitive in today’s world, with NO tax increase for residents.
We hope you will join us and vote YES to invest in the future of Briarcliff schools.
Stacy Agona, Jan Fisher, Sal Maglietta, Jon Satran, Lisa Tane