The question of making our buildings
safer has been under discussion by district officials for a long time. It is a
question parents frequently ask district officials. The tragedy at Sandy Hook
last year as well as subsequent events throughout the country prompted the
district to move forward with a review of its safety and security procedures.
We conducted safety audits of our buildings using the resources provided to us
by the Yorktown Police Department and the Westchester County Police Department.
Additionally, the district’s own insurance providers added their input along
with the district’s architectural firm.
the Board of Education’s Construction Committee has reviewed all this
information during the past six months as the bond proposal was developed.
Another factor is that New York State is currently offering additional state
aid on projects that involve security and safety improvements.
What buildings are included in this bond?
The bond includes work at all eight
school buildings and the administration building. A summary of the work being
done can be found on page two of this newsletter. The district, working with
our architects, determined a priority list of items to be completed in the
district’s buildings. A detailed list building-by-building is available on the district’s
web site or by contacting the District Office at (914) 245-1700.
Did the district take any action regarding safety following the tragic events
of last December in Connecticut?
A number of immediate steps were taken
in Lakeland to enhance the existing safety measures. The district had previously
installed a video buzzer entry system at all building entrances. Entry to all
buildings was through one central location with all exterior doors locked
during the school day. Buildings now hold several additional safety-related
drills throughout the year. Safety plans have also been updated districtwide.
Internal protocols for safety
were tightened and enhanced. Additional security protocols were instituted
involving internal and external security
measures that we cannot share publicly.
police departments immediately increased the police presence in and around our
buildings. Officers from
and Westchester County police departments have become a regular presence in the
area of the schools including regular visits inside and outside the schools.
What is the timeline for the projects if the proposition is
After the district obtains voter
approval, the architects will draw up the specific plans which will take two to
These plans are submitted to the New York State Education Department (SED) for
approval. All construction projects require state approval. The approval
process could take between three and six months depending on the number of
projects submitted statewide to the SED.
architects will design the projects in two phases with projects that need a
smaller amount of time to obtain SED approval
being completed first. Following SED approval, the plans will go out to bid.
With approval in November, the
district hopes to begin some projects as soon as the summer of 2014 and
complete work in the summer of 2015.
Since most of the projects will involve work inside the schools, the work will
be scheduled for completion during the summer.
What are some of the health related projects included in the bond?
The district has also identified a
number of health-related projects. These include replacing all the windows at Benjamin
Franklin Elementary School which may contain PCBs in the caulking. The existing
windows are original to the building. The bond will also add air conditioning
in the auditorium, computer room, and library at Lakeland High School and the
cafetorium at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School. These large spaces are used
extensively by the school community. The auditorium at Lakeland High School is
an area that has been identified as a potential security weakness since doors
to the outside are often propped open when the indoor temperatures rise.
Q: What is the tax impact of the bond?
A: After taking into account
the district’s 59.5% state building aid, the direct cost to the taxpayers would
be approximately $7 million. At this time the district will benefit from New
York State providing additional aid on a number of projects that deal with
safety and security.
The figures in the chart below are approximate annual
costs based on average home values. As you can see, the first tax impact is not until 2015-16
and the amount is expected to decrease in 2016-17 and beyond.