Message from the Tuxedo superintendent
I believe that it is time for me speak out in support of the Tuxedo UFSD and the relationship that it has shared with the Greenwood Lake UFSD for the past 30+ years. In doing so, I would like to first clarify information concerning our tuition and then comment on the Parental Choice Option.
To begin with, every tuition amount that has been provided to the Greenwood Lake Board of Education by the Tuxedo Board of Education has been offered with the knowledge that our Tuxedo school taxes will be increased.
Our original tuition of $12,500 for a five-year contract is based on an increase in Tuxedo school taxes, would result in an increase over the 2 percent cap, and would require a 60 percent majority vote to pass in our community budget vote in May 2013.
Our goal was to be fiscally responsible to both districts and the Tuxedo Board of Education was confident that we would have the support of the Tuxedo Community to pass this budget and reduce the Greenwood Lake tuition.
The Tuxedo Board of Education and Administration recognize the Greenwood Lake Community’s interest in “Parental Choice.” Tuxedo’s offer of a sliding scale for “Parental Choice” also increases Tuxedo school taxes. This offer was made in an attempt to keep tuition as low as possible, while increasing Tuxedo taxes at approximately the same rate, and attempting to maintain the current program at George F. Baker High School.
Subsequent to the Greenwood Lake Board of Education meeting on July 11, a flat tuition was “suggested” to Tuxedo by the Greenwood Lake Superintendent. Even though I believe that the sliding scale provides for the potential for lower tuition, and may be a better choice, the Tuxedo Board of Education has agreed with this suggestion. In addition, the Tuxedo Board of Education has agreed to Greenwood Lake’s requests for a different special education tuition formula based upon “actual costs.”
Three district choice
Over the past eight months there have been highly charged discussions about the merits of the three high school programs from Warwick, Chester and Tuxedo. Each district is unique in their strengths and the Greenwood Lake Board of Education arrived at a solution that provides the Greenwood Lake students with alternatives: The Three District Parent Choice Option.
This option, proposed and supported by members of the Greenwood Lake Board of Education, has received a great deal of unified support in the Greenwood Lake Community, as evidenced by hundreds of signatures on petitions delivered to the Board in support of this choice. The Three District Parent Choice Option provides Greenwood Lake parents with the choice of high school that they feel best suits their child’s needs.
Not all are in favor of the Three District Parent Choice Option. Some have begun to work vigorously to limit parent choice and remove Tuxedo from the Three District Parent Choice Option. Doing so may impact choice for those presently attending George F. Baker High School, or those who wish to do so in the future. It also reduces parent choice overall and limits the Greenwood Lake School District’s options in the future, if George F. Baker High School restructures or closes. A great strength of the Three District Parent Option is three districts.
Although we would prefer that all of the Greenwood Lake students attend George F. Baker High School, we will continue to work with the Greenwood Lake community in providing a high quality and uniquely individualized education for the students who choose to attend George F. Baker High School.
We are listening to and will support the Greenwood Lake Community in their quest for this choice.
The decision for the future of the Greenwood Lake students is scheduled for a final vote at the Aug. 29 Greenwood Lake Board of Education meeting. At that time the Greenwood Lake Board of Education will decide whether to send their students to Chester, Tuxedo, Warwick, or any combination of those districts for their high school education starting in Sept. 2013. The opinions of the members of the Greenwood Lake Community are important and should be heard and considered by the Greenwood Lake Board of Education and Superintendent as this important date nears. I encourage the Greenwood Lake community to speak out.
The Tuxedo UFSD is dedicated to continuing the relationship that we have shared with Greenwood Lake by working collaboratively towards a long term solution that would be beneficial to both districts.
We continue to offer to explore cost saving measures and consolidation of shared services.
We are interested in exploring the Regional High School Model along with Greenwood Lake.
The current Tuxedo Board of Education and administration have demonstrated honesty and integrity in all of our interactions with Greenwood Lake and we are dedicated to a relationship built upon open communication and trust.
Carol A. Lomascolo is the Superintendent of Schools for the Tuxedo Union Free School District.
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