District Information

 2015 High School Bond Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is a bond to expand the High School needed now?
  • The elementary schools have been expanded and renovated to accommodate increased enrollment.
  • The Middle School renovation and expansion project was successfully completed in August 2014, on time and on budget, ending Phase 1 of the work at the secondary level.   
  • It is now time to move into Phase 2 – the upgrade and expansion of the High School to accommodate the larger population now being served and to meet the academic demands of a 21st century education. 
  • This bond will create much needed classroom space for students and will renovate some aged areas of the High School that first opened its doors in 1927.  The building has become outdated and cannot accommodate the larger population now being served and the demands of today’s educational standards.
  • By 2020-2021, (the year that the current 4th grade will enter 9th grade), the High School will be 169 students over capacity without the addition of new classrooms. 
What is the impact of overcrowding?
  • Research indicates that students who take one college-level course during high school are significantly more successful during college.  Therefore, electives and Advanced Placement (AP) classes have been added.  However, lack of space makes it difficult to continue to add courses of benefit to all students
  • Classrooms were created in the old gym 13 years ago; these were meant to be temporary.  Installation of doors and proper ceilings is not permitted by the State Education Department because the space is interior, without windows.  Therefore, there is no way to limit encroachment of noise from surrounding rooms; this space currently houses High Schools classes, including some Advanced Placement offerings.
  • Teachers are unable to set up science labs in advance of class because classrooms are so heavily used; this reduces actual lab time for students as well as the ability to provide more complex lab activities.
  • Using the old gym for classrooms impacts the physical education program (classes such as yoga, CPR, step aerobics and first aid are held in the lobby of the “new” gym, built in 1984); the unavailability of gym space also reduces practice and game space for 25 teams.
  • Teachers share classrooms - losing valuable time needed for preparation, instruction and extra support for students.
  • The High School runs four lunch periods to try to accommodate students. Some students are scheduled to eat lunch as early as Period 4, which begins at 10:11am. 
  • Small group instructional spaces were created in old closets and storage facilities.
Have educational requirements changed, resulting in the need for additional space?   

Yes, academic requirements and the amount of space required per student have increased significantly since the 1970’s in all schools nationwide.  Some of the factors in Eastchester include: 

  • Sixth grade was NOT housed on the secondary campus; grades 7-9 were part of a junior high school and grades 10-12 were in the high school.  Now grades 6-8 are in the Middle School and grades 9-12 are in the High School. 
  • Different educational program needs and mandates must be satisfied; e.g. additional science lab space requirements set forth by the State Education Department.
  • Additional space is now needed for computer technology, coding, video production classes and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) courses.
  • Mandated special education classes, English language learners (ELL) classes, academic intervention services, reading classes, and additional counseling/student support services require additional small group instruction spaces. 
  • Addition of more Advanced Placement (AP) courses and electives, including those with an emphasis on STEM education, requires appropriate classroom space.
  • A fully operational TV production studio with specific electives for students as part of the High School art program has been added.
What is the financial impact? 
  • Total Cost:   $26,900,000
  • Terms of Borrowing:   20 years; interest rate projected to be 3.0%
  • Estimate includes State Aid of approximately 28.6% of allowable construction aid
  • Estimated Average Homeowner Cost:  $237 per year ($19.75 per month) for a home assessed at $8,900 (Town average).  This is $26.63 per $1,000 of assessed value. 
What is the cost breakdown?

Classroom Addition 18,629,800 
Cafeteria Addition & Alterations 2,648,081   
Auditorium Renovation 972,279 
Physical Education Improvements 1,430,000 
High Priority Infrastructure & Renovations 3,187,514 
Total $26,900,000 (rounded) 
                                                                   
Will the new addition raise energy costs such as heating and lighting?

While possible, it is anticipated that the energy efficient additions, as well as new boilers, will result in a level cost or a possible cost savings.

Will the District be hiring new staff once the addition is complete?

The District will still have to comply with the tax cap so the budget cannot increase any more than is allowable by law, but is cognizant of the importance of hiring staff to maintain the new facility.

When will the financial impact begin?  Is there other debt that is being retired?

The full impact will begin in the 2018-19 school year.  At that time there will be some debt that will be retired which will lessen the overall financial impact.

What is the estimated time frame?

If the bond referendum passes, it is estimated that the following time line will take place:

  • November 2015-April 2016:  Design and Documentation
  • May 2016-October 2016:  Submission/Approval by NY State Education Department (estimated time)
  • February 2017-September  2018:  Construction (after completion of bidding process) 
  • September 2018:  Anticipated Completion  
  • January 2019:  Return of old gym to physical education space

The District hopes to implement a plan that allows some current high school students to benefit from changes to the auditorium, student bathrooms and locker rooms. 

Anticipated Target Completion Dates

  • September 2017:

Auditorium Renovation
Toilet Rooms Renovation
Parking Lot Expansion (Middle School front lot)
Locker Rooms and Basement Physical Education Space Renovation

  • September 2018:

Classroom Addition (3 story addition)
Cafeteria Addition and Alterations

  • January 2019: 
Return of Old Gym to Physical Education space
  
Did you Know…
  • EHS was named a New York State Reward Schools for the 2014-15 school year, the state’s highest level of recognition for academic achievement?
  • This fall, Newsweek recognized EHS as one of America’s “Top High Schools,” with a ranking of 132 out of 16,000 high schools in the nation?
  • Computer Programming used to be offered once every other year in the High School? Increased demand has led to the creation of 5 sections this year.
  • EHS offers the OC21 program – online courses for the 21st century?
  • EHS has added a new Sports Analytics class for 2015-16?
  • EHS offers the Authentic Science Research (ASR) program?
  • Students in first grade are exposed to STEM infused activities?
  • Revised technology curriculum in Grades 2-5 integrates coding and 3D printing?
  • Anne Hutchinson has a new STEM lab?
  • EMS has a Scratch Club and EMS students attended Made with Code workshops?
  • Greenvale and Anne Hutchinson have been recognized by the state as Reward Schools for educational excellence though increased student achievement?
What Does the Bond Provide? 

The Eastchester Board of Education, with input from several community members with experience in construction, has approved a straightforward plan that will provide a 3 story addition to the high school that will include:

  • 9 state-of-art science labs and prep areas.
  • 12 general education classrooms.
  • 6 small instruction spaces.
  • An expanded and renovated cafeteria, with more efficient loading dock and kitchen space.
  • Renovation and relocation of the weight room to make it accessible both male and female students.
  • Renovation and relocation of Guidance, Registration and Technology offices to the first floor for easier access for students and parents; will also be in a more secure location.
  • A new student study space adjacent to the cafeteria and Guidance offices.
  • Renovation of the old gym, returning this area to much needed space for physical education activities.
  • Renovation of student bathrooms, locker rooms, art and digital lab rooms.
  • Renovation of current undersized science room to become a general education classroom.

In addition, the bond provides a substantial facelift to the auditorium, including new:

  • Seating and carpeting.
  • Lighting and sound systems.
  • Stage floor and painting.

Finally, the bond will create energy efficiencies, with new

  • Roofing for a particular area of the “new” gym built in 1984 that has never been replaced.  
  • Boilers, heating, lighting.
How do we know that the additional students are legal residents?

The Eastchester School District has a rigorous registration procedure that requires multiple documents that prove residency.  If the District becomes aware that a student may not be a legal resident, an investigation is launched and the child will be asked to leave the District if residency is not legal.  Residents are asked to notify the District if they suspect that a student does not legally reside in the Eastchester School District. 

Has the use of modular classes been considered? 

Use of modular units is not considered appropriate for the following reasons:

  • Modular classrooms are often the best alternative to meet temporary needs, such as when space is lost due to earthquakes, floods, fire, etc. or when construction has been delayed. 
  • Modular units are roughly 70% of the cost of new construction.  Once units are in place, additional costs are incurred for installation of security cameras, PA systems, electricity, plumbing, lighting, telephones (for 911 access), and covered  walkways to main buildings, since students must travel outside for lunch, gym, chorus, band, etc.
  • The projected useful life of modular units is, at best, 25-50% of the projected useful life of conventional construction.
  • The approval process takes as long as new construction since there has to be a public vote and plans must be submitted to the State Education Department - the same as construction plans.
  • There are some safety concerns.  According to a 2010 EPA report, many modular classroom companies still use pressed-wood products that often contain high levels of formaldehyde and other chemicals.  Additionally, many modular units have poorly functioning HVAC systems, leaving the interior air relatively uncirculated and unfiltered.

 

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