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$41.6M Ossining School Bond Draws Mixed Reactions

OSSINING, N.Y. – A $41.6 million school bond proposal presented to the public Thursday has received mixed reaction, with some people saying the proposal is insufficient to keep class sizes down and others saying the limited scope of the bond is necessary in order to ensure that it will pass.

"I think this budget is not adequate. I think it needs to be revised and the reason is because it doesn't address class size," said Suzanne Juan, who has one son in third grade at Claremont School and another son in a private pre-kindergarten program.

Elizabeth Glibert whose husband, Greg Galef, is on the school board, said she is also concerned about class sizes but she is more concerned about the bond not passing.

"We can't afford for the bond not to pass and I don't think it can get any bigger," she said.

According to Ossining schools Deputy Superintendent Raymond Sanchez, the district plans to find more classroom space for increasing numbers of students by rethinking the use of existing school spaces.

"This is an extremely conservative proposal. It's our best effort at addressing students' needs," Superintendent Phyllis Glassman said.

The new $41.6 million bond proposal is a scaled back version of a $69 million bond proposal that was defeated last spring by about 500 votes. The bond would provide funds for necessary infrastructure repairs, including fixing a leaky the roof at Anne M. Dorner Middle School, installing new boilers and fixing the exterior wall of the middle school, which has bricks that have been pushed out due to water seeping inside the wall.

The bond would also fund nine new science classrooms in Ossining High School.

Dana White of Ossining has two children who went through Anne M. Dorner Middle School and said she feels the conditions at the middle school are appalling.

"We should be ashamed of AMD. It is falling apart and it feels institutional," she said. "Sometimes you need just a coat of paint to bring some sense of happiness to a place. To have garbage cans for leaks, it's absolutely unacceptable."

William Nusslein agreed.

"Sometimes democracy is really funny. We're going to have a vote on whether or not to fix the roof?" he said.

The Thursday forum held in the Ossining library's Budarz theater was the second in a series of three forums to collect public input on the proposed school bond. The first forum was held Tuesday at Anne M. Dorner Middle School, and a third forum will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Ossining High School.

The Ossining school board will vote Jan. 11 on whether or not to go forward with the $41.6 million bond referendum in March.

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