With a town-gown meeting coming up, some lessons from our fraternal twin, Scarsdale

February 1, 2014
by Christine Yeres

Remember the old “Contrast and compare . . . ” assignments?  From time to time, I find it instructive to look in on Scarsdale’s “hyper-local” news coverage.  With our Town Board and Board of Ed members meeting jointly next week—at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 5, at Greeley’s Academic Commons—I checked to see what Scarsdale is thinking and talking about.

A “high-performance” school district with roughly the same population and number of households as New Castle, Scarsdale is grappling with some of the same issues that are front-and-center here, too: Pressure from Governor Cuomo to consolidate services; prodigious school budgets (Scarsdale had to go to its public for approval a second time last year); and property revaluation (well on its way to completion, now with a debate about whether to tax condos as single-fee).  This is a take-home exam—take-home and open-book!

I’ll start out with a most startling difference: area.  Scarsdale’s geographic area is 6.6 square miles (population density: 2,600/sq.mi.) ; New Castle’s is 23.4 square miles (population density: 750/sq.mi.).

Pressure from Cuomo to consolidate services:


School budget and tax cap:


This year’s Scarsdale school budget unveiled:

“The adjusted tax cap would be 4.18%, which means that the current proposed budget is $278,993 or .21% above the cap and would require a 60% approval rate by voters. The tax cap was calculated beginning with the 1.46% figure from the state, plus 1.59% in real property growth in Scarsdale in addition to the adjustment for capital improvements.

~ from http://scarsdale10583.com/about-joomla/schools/3807-school-administrators-unveil-first-draft-of-2014-15-school-budget

Revaluation—Homestead Act, deciding whether condos should be valued as single-family:


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These are daunting subjects to consider.  There’s one small I can think of as a subject for the town and sch district to talk over: parking at Bell on a Saturday so that I can go to the farmers market can be really tough. I’m persistent, but I’ve seen cars circle and then just leave.  Can’t part of the Bell lot be cordoned off and reserved for farmers market clients? Does even that part of the lot alongside the church’s Great Lawn belong to the sch district?

By Make space for the farmers market on 02/01/2014 at 1:13 pm

Good that you’re all meeting together, but let’s see some real interest on the part of the school population in how the town can be better. We all only care about our kids and their schools when our kids are very little, but if the town were better it would be great for us all!

Can someone please direct a little attention to the town, in an organized way? Why aren’t our high schoolers posed problems like these in their 21st century problem-solving classes and apply some deep-thinking to them? These are REAL problems right here at home.

By Get kids to think about town-school stuff on 02/01/2014 at 1:24 pm

Is this a big significant difference?  The condo reval article talks as though there are only 42 condos in all of Scarsdale.  Could that be true?  We have more like 600 here in N.C. That’s about one-tenth of our housing. That’s going to be a hard sell. Let’s see if Scarsdale goes ahead with it.

By Scarsdale condos — only 42 of them? on 02/01/2014 at 1:29 pm

Teh district was working on subdividing the Zauderer property, I think I remember. What was the result? I’d like to hear the two boards talk about this.

Plus the certiorari with for Chappaqua Crossing. Where does that stand?

By Zauderer and Chappaqua Crossing certiorari on 02/02/2014 at 6:59 am

It looks as if our school district has lots more in reserves than Scardale’s. Is that good or bad?

By Reserves on 02/02/2014 at 7:02 am

Sell Bell and develop.

By tax relief on 02/04/2014 at 12:24 pm

as a 35 year resident, I can truly say that the nay sayers have won. they have attained their goal. we are a complete loser town.nwoth taxes higher than scarsdale

By reality check on 02/05/2014 at 7:41 pm

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