In an ongoing effort to gather community response to its bond proposal to fund major construction at all three schools, Edgemont School District administrators asked the town of Greenburgh Police Department (GPD) and the Department of Public Works to review plans for site work intended to improve traffic flow, emergency access and parking. An overview of the plans and drawings can be seen in the presentation, Building on Edgemont’s Excellence, on the district’s website, edgemont.org.

“The feedback we received is that the measures we’ve put into these plans are what they’ve been speaking about for years,” Bryan Paul, assistant to the superintendent for administration, said Jan. 26 at the virtual meeting of the Edgemont Board of Education. “There was a lot of agreement in the scope and direction we are going.”

Greenburgh officials told Paul that the proposed access road off Artillery Road, a new roundabout circle, and the connection to Old Colony Road would significantly reduce vehicle congestion, although a lot of traffic would still enter on Edgemont Road and White Oak Lane.

At Seely Place School, there was concern over a proposed drop-off circle at the rear of the building and pedestrian flow at nearby intersections. An engineer working with the GPD’s traffic division will suggest ways to organize traffic patterns and possibly create a new staging lane on Seely Place.

At Greenville School, Paul said there was no negative feedback from the town regarding either of the district’s proposed access roads, both of which would connect Ardsley Road to Greenville School. Board members, by and large, recommended the two-way access road option and said they would convey their preference during a community forum on Feb. 2.

Budget preview

Paul previewed an outline, strategy and timeline leading up to the annual budget vote for the 2021-22 school year, which will be on May 18. While the capital bond proposal will also be up for a vote on the same day, Paul made a point of differentiating the two, noting that the budget proposal covers operating expenditures for the 2021-22 school year, and would impact on the taxes levied for that duration. The bond proposal, on the other hand, requests authorization for the budget to support capital projects covering site renovations beginning in 2023 or 2024, and would not impact taxes levied in 2021-22, but would impact taxes levied in 2023-24 and the subsequent years remaining on the term of the bond.

Known factors

In developing the district budget, several known factors can facilitate the budget breakdown, said Paul, including a stable or slight increase in enrollment; contributions to the employee retirement system; settled contracts for clerical, custodial and teacher aides; employer contributions to the employee retirement system; health insurance premiums; debt service; allowable levy growth factor and the tax base growth factor.

Unknown factors

But unknown factors remain, including budgetary requirement to support the COVID learning environment, the Edgemont Teachers Association contract, contributions to the teacher retirement system, transportation costs, special education placements and associated costs, assessed tax valuations, revenue sources, capital projects for 2021-22 and the maximum allowable tax levy.

An update on the specific budget allocations for curriculum and instruction, technology and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) will be published next week in the Inquirer and online at scarsdalenews.com.

COVID updates

At the start of the meeting, Superintendent Victoria Kniewel updated the Edgemont community on changes in COVID-related school activities. All Tier 1 special education students have returned to school for a full day of instruction. Tier 2 special ed students, who require fewer services, are scheduled to return for a full day as well. The district will continue to prioritize the placement of K-2 students to onsite learning, after special ed students are placed, based on health and safety guidelines and the availability of space.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has approved student participation in high-risk winter sports beginning Feb. 1. Section 1 districts are required to share safety protocol information and procedures with the Department of Health, which has final approval, after which, Edgemont will decide which sports may resume. High-risk winter sports in Edgemont are basketball, ice hockey, volleyball and wrestling.

School employees have been receiving COVID-19 vaccines but some have had trouble getting appointments. Kniewel is working with area superintendents and the Department of Health to help facilitate times that district workers can get vaccinated.

Recognition of the community  

Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School Principal Kyle Hosier recognized several EHS students whose work has been chosen for the Westport Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) for its Student Art Exhibition: Hindsight is 2020. The exhibit features 200 entries from across Connecticut and New York, including painting, photography, digital art, drawings and sculpture. The exhibit opened on Jan. 23 and reservations to see the exhibit can be made on the museum’s website, mocawestport.org.

The next meeting of the Edgemont Board of Education will take place on Feb. 9.

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