School DistrictBe sure to vote on Tuesday, December 15th.

Wait.  What?  Wasn’t the election last month?

Well, yes, but there is another important choice coming up on the 15th, so don’t let the unusual timing keep you away from the polls. That’s when the School District submits for voter approval a bond that would pay for essential repairs at New Rochelle’s ten public school buildings.

And we’re not talking about minor cosmetic repairs.  This is big stuff – roofing, electrical systems, masonry, etc. – all vital to the safety of New Rochelle’s 11,000 students and to the structural integrity of some of our community’s most iconic (and heavily-used) facilities.

The City government and School District are entirely independent.  That means I have no official role in any of this.  So I am writing unofficially – as a resident, parent, and taxpayer – to urge you to vote yes.

Here’s a lot more information from the School District, along with answers to FAQs.

Opposition to this bond is probably based mainly on sticker shock.  The price tag – $50 million – sure sounds like a lot.

But it’s important to put that number in perspective.  During the roughly 18-year time period during which the debt will be repaid, the School District’s normal, status quo outlays will total about $4.5 billion.  (That’s billion with a B.)  And, of course, the purpose of this bond is to extend the life of buildings with a collective value that must also measure in the billions.  In that context, $50 million looks a little smaller.

Plus, in a move that should be reassuring to taxpayers, the School District has cleverly structured the bond repayment schedule to match the retirement of prior debt obligations, which will stabilize (or even reduce) the District’s overall debt payments going forward.  As a result, there will be no tax increase associated with this bond.

When you get down to it, this isn’t so different from maintaining a home.  At some point, you have to fix the roof, or replace the boiler, or pave the driveway, or whatever.  Paying these kinds of bills is no fun, but delay only exposes you to risk in the short-term and higher costs in the long-term.

The polls will be open from 7am to 9pm.  If you’re not sure where to vote, you can check here.