Media Statement

December 21, 2017

Rye Neck Sets $27.6 Million Bond Vote for February 13

The Board of Education of the Rye Neck Union Free School District voted unanimously at its December 20 meeting to seek community approval for a $27.6 million bond proposal to replace aging school roofs and to expand and upgrade academic and athletic facilities at the combined Middle/High School campus.

Rye Neck voters will be asked to vote on two independent propositions– each of which requires a majority vote to pass.

The first proposition seeks $6.28 million to replace flat roofs at all three of the district’s school facilities.

The bulk of these funds will be used to replace the 23‐year‐old flat roof that covers the entire Middle/High School and its athletic facility. The roof was last replaced after a major roof collapse in January 1994 that closed the campus for nearly a week and caused extensive damage to the library, cafeteria and classroom spaces. The remainder of the funds will be used to replace the smaller flat roof sections at the Daniel Warren Elementary School and F.E. Bellows Elementary School. Those roofs are also more than 23 years old, well beyond the end of their useful lives.

The second proposition seeks $21.33 million for two major capital projects to expand the Middle/High School campus.

The first project calls for $14.68 million to build a new eight‐classroom addition to house the Collaborative Science Center. This new wing, which will be attached to the western side of the campus, will be specifically designed and equipped for advanced instruction in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). The Collaborative Science Center will represent the first capital improvements to academic spaces at the campus since 1997, when six science classrooms were modernized. Those now‐outdated classrooms will be converted back to general academic use to ease overcrowding throughout the campus.

The second project calls for $6.65 million to expand the current athletic facility to house a second, smaller gymnasium for Middle School physical education classes and athletic events. The primary purpose of this investment is to eliminate the chronic scheduling bottlenecks caused by nearly 900 Middle School and High School students being forced to share one gym to meet their state‐mandated physical education (PE) requirements. By moving all Middle School PE classes to the smaller gym, PE classes will then be available for High School students during any period of the day. This flexibility will enable High School students to fit into their schedules more advanced STEAM courses, which often require back‐to‐back periods for classroom instruction followed by hands‐on laboratory work. Indeed, building the Middle School gym is the key to ensuring that High School students gain full access to the new Collaborative Science Center to strengthen their credentials for college admissions and eventual career opportunities.

“After extensive research on the condition of all our school facilities, and after careful consideration of the needs of our students and the entire community, the Board has decided that urgent roof replacements and critically important improvements to our Middle School/High School campus are the highest immediate priorities for Rye Neck,” said Patty Nashelsky, President of the Board of Education.  

“We recognize the financial uncertainty that many families in our district face, especially in light of new limits on property tax deductions,” said Ms. Nashelsky. “While the Board agrees that capital improvements are also needed at our two elementary schools, we believe this bond proposal is the most fiscally responsible course of action in these uncertain times.”

Detailed information on the bond proposal – including architectural drawings and calculations of the property tax impact of the bond financing – will be available on the district website during the first week of January. Public hearings on the bond proposal will be held on January 10 and 24, and on February 7. Public tours of school facilities will be scheduled during the weeks before the vote.

Voting on the bond proposal will take place on Tuesday, February 13, at the Rye Neck High School Community Room. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.