Test or Opt-Out: The Discussion Continues
- Category: Parenting
- Published on 15 April 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
The battle over mandated state testing and teacher evaluations continued this week in the schools, the State Assembly and on television.
According to Lynne Shain, Scarsdale's Assistant Superintendent, 110 children in the Scarsdale School District opted out of the tests as of Tuesday, April 14th. That's just under 5% of the 2,238 students in grades 3-8. In order to comply with the state mandate, 95% of district children are required to take the test. So if another two students opt out, the district will fall below the targeted number.
In other news, State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and 15 of her peers in the Assembly sent a letter dated April 13, 2015 to Chancellor Merryl Tisch and the Board of Regents asking them to use their power to recognize the uniqueness of each school district and to give individual school districts flexibility in designing their own teacher evaluation plans. The legislators advocate for allowing local principals and administrators to observe district teachers and minimize the use of independent evaluators. According to the letter, standardized test results should be given less weight in teacher evaluations and districts should be given the "flexibility of choosing from a broad variety of assessment measures that are aligned to existing classroom and school best practices." The letter is shown below.
Chancellor of the Board of Regents Merryl Tisch and Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System appeared on Chris Hayes' show on MSNBC on Tuesday night to discuss their positions on this controversial issue. Tisch said the tests were intended to give parents "a snapshot of their child's performance in relation to their peers," and said the tests were "diagnostics to inform instruction and curriculum development." She claimed that the tests were not designed to be used as tools to evaluate teachers, saying "If we had not linked the evaluation of teachers to the testing I think more kids would be showing up for testing. Kids have gotten caught up in a labor dispute between the teachers union and the Governor and our kids are paying the price."
Ravitch said that kids are over-tested and that "Kids in third grade are taking 8 hours of tests – more than the bar exam." She added, "No test results are given to the schools – just the scores.... There is no instructional gain and no diagnostic value."
Here is the letter sent by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and her colleagues:
Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch
and Members of the Board of Regents
89 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12234
Dear Chancellor Tisch and Members of the Board of Regents:
Communities, educators and elected officials share the same goal of high quality instruction, appropriate accountability measures, and evaluation processes and instruments. We believe that the key to a successful evaluation system lies in the ability of individual districts to tailor their evaluation plans to the unique profile of the district. A one-size-fits-all approach to teacher evaluation ignores the differences that truly exist among districts across the state. All of our students and teachers are shortchanged when we force our districts to operate as if these differences do not exist.
We believe that the recently enacted 2015-16 state budget gives the Regents the power to develop an evaluation system that will allow school leaders, with appropriate oversight, to implement teacher evaluation plans that address the uniqueness of each district. In addition, the recently enacted budget gives the Regents the opportunity to analyze the role of student testing in a teacher evaluation system. Therefore, it is critical that this evaluation system be developed thoroughly and thoughtfully. If there are specifics that need to be addressed legislatively, please let us know.
Education Law Section 207 -- Legislative power -- gives the Board of Regents the power to establish rules for carrying into effect the laws and policies of the state. Education Law also grants the Commissioner the authority to promulgate teacher evaluation regulations that recognize the unique profile of a district, i.e., its diversity and level of student performance based on quantifiable goals such as student growth, graduation rates and college readiness. In our opinion, the recently enacted 2015-16 state budget grants the Regents authority to allow flexibility for the implementation of teacher evaluation plans that use varied evaluation measures and weights, depending on the grade level, subject area or individual teacher. It also now requires the Board of Regents to call on practitioners and experts in the field of education, economics and psychometrics to assist in the implementation of a differentiated evaluation system that will truly improve teaching and learning in New York State. In fact, the enacted budget includes $1 million for this purpose.
Under the newly enacted law, the districts now have an additional option and requirement as to who can conduct teacher observations. We believe that using principals or other trained administrators is the more effective method of teacher evaluation and should be given the highest priority. Regarding an independent evaluator, the law gives the Regents broad discretion to determine what percentage of a teacher's observation will be done by an independent evaluator. We believe districts will be better served if independent evaluators are used minimally as is currently done in NYC where they are used for ineffective teachers. For instance, one way to use independent evaluators effectively would be to use them as validators, to authenticate scores to ensure consistency across districts, grade levels and subject areas.
The cost of using independent evaluators is another factor that you must consider. The cost to the districts is either in money, if they must pay for a trained independent evaluator from outside the district, or time if the evaluator is from within the district. This money is better spent on reducing class size or maintaining a full array of courses. In order to provide flexibility, the Regents should exercise the authority to define a school by its BEDS code even if it shares space within a building with other district schools, i.e., elementary, middle and high school. Defining a school by its BEDS code will give smaller districts the same advantage as larger districts to use an independent evaluator from within the district which will save money and more closely align its evaluation plan to the districts' educational goals.
Student performance is the other area where differentiation is critical. We believe the law offers the flexibility to allow districts to decide what proportion of a teacher's evaluation should be decided by standardized tests, observations and locally selected measures. We recommend that in order to be equal to all teachers, districts be allowed to give the state standardized tests less weight, which is only fair given that the use of state standardized tests targets some teachers and not others. It is important too, that the Regents recognize that for special education teachers, greater weight should be placed on observations due to the diversity of the learning needs of their students. Moreover, special needs students struggle with standardized tests, which is why a variety of student assessments, such as portfolios, should be used to a far greater extent for these students.
Most importantly, the law now requires that annual evaluation systems "shall consist of multiple measures" for student performance. "Multiple measures" means using more than one. If a district chooses only option one – one test – then, in order to abide by the law, the same test must be given over a period of years, with several cohorts of students. If schools choose to add the second component, we ask that you allow them the flexibility of choosing from a broad variety of assessment measures that are aligned to existing classroom and school best practices and take into consideration testing reduction as is required in the law. Using tests wisely over time and encouraging the use of a variety of assessments will help reduce test stress and test anxiety for teachers and students.
Ignoring the differences between school districts disavows the state's ability to put the resources and attention where it is most needed. We urge you to utilize the flexibility that the law grants you, both through the promulgation of regulations and within the newly enacted budget, to allow districts a greater level of self-determination in the implementation of a teacher evaluation system. To ignore this opportunity is an injustice to the students, educators, parents and taxpayers of New York State.
Members of Assembly
Anti-Semitic Incident at Local Synagogue
- Category: Around Town
- Published on 15 April 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Rabbi Jeffrey Brown and President Donna Ruskin of Scarsdale Synagogue Tremont Temple Emanuel on Ogden Road reported that a children's block bearing a pro-Hitler phrase was found in the art room of the school wing on the evening of April 14, 2015. The block was found by someone from Test Takers, a tutoring group that rents space at the temple.
The synagogue's security officer notified the Scarsdale Police who conducted a full security sweep of the property and the building. The temple is open with security measures in place and increased police presence.
According to an April 15 notification from the synagogue, "concern is magnified today because this incident was connected to space used by our children. And on top of that, we are distressed because of the timing of the incident. Tonight marks the beginning of Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day)."
SSTTE will hold a joint commemoration of Yom HaShoah with Shaarei Tikvah on Wednesday night April 15 at 7 pm.
You and the Night: Jazz Music Concert with John Sneider and Cantor Gerald Cohen
- Category: Events
- Published on 17 April 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Shaarei Tikvah transforms itself into a jazz club Saturday, April 25th, at 9 pm for You and the Night and the Music, a concert featuring jazz arrangements of Jewish music and jazz standards by Jewish composers. Produced and performed by our own John Sneider, playing with the John Sneider Scraptet, the concert also features Cantor Gerald Cohen performing jazz arrangements of his and other composers' music. Wine and refreshments will be served.
A highlight of the concert will be Jazz Survivor, John Sneider's homage to Louis Bannet – the Dutch Louis Armstrong – who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau by playing in the camp orchestra. The concert will also feature John and his brother Bob, a guitarist, performing selections from their CD, The Brockton Beat, and Robin Sneider singing a Yiddish song, with Bill Magaliff contributing a piece as well.
"We are incredibly fortunate to have John as part of our Shaarei Tikvah community," says Cantor Cohen, "and thrilled to have him performing in our new 'Shaarei Tikvah Jazz Club'. His arrangements of Jewish melodies, and the performance of his piece Jazz Survivor, will give a very special flavor to this already great jazz concert."
The John Sneider Scraptet includes Bob Sneider, John's brother, on guitar, Andy Farber on sax, Matthew Fries on piano, Phil Palombi on bass, Andy Watson on drums and David Sneider, John's son, on trumpet. Robin Sneider, John's wife and a professional singer, will also appear as guest soloist.
An interview with John Sneider
"I Jazz up Everything I hear" – A Discussion with John Sneider
You may know John Sneider as the trumpeter who plays Kol Nidre so poignantly before Yom Kippur... or just as Marina and David's dad. John is a nationally known jazz trumpeter and composer/arranger. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music and his Master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music. He's been playing jazz gigs since he was 14 years old and travels internationally, most recently with Curtis Stigers. John and Robin live in Ardsley. The concert promises to be an amazing evening.
Why did you want to do this concert?
John: "It's a nice way to give back to our community, a way to feel connected. I love working with Cantor Cohen and feel a real kinship with him. He's a great musician and a major reason we were attracted to and stay at Shaarei Tikvah. I also love performing for my friends in Westchester , but most of my gigs are either out of town or late at night. Hopefully this time, we'll avoid another Nor'easter, which made my March 2010 concert very stressful and kept many away."
What made you think about taking Jewish music and setting it to jazz?
John: I jazz up everything I hear and have been doing so since I was a kid. A great melody can exist in any idiom. I find Jewish music to be in its own way very soulful. It's not unlike the blues, which is the undercurrent of jazz."
Tell us about your piece, Jazz Survivor, which you'll be playing at the concert.
John: "It is homage to Louis Bannet, the Dutch Louis Armstrong. Sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, he saved his life by playing in the orchestra and serving as personal bandleader for Dr. Josef Mengele. I was inspired to write it after reading Ken Shuldman's literary tribute and Ken will read a short excerpt at the concert. The primary musical motif in Jazz Survivor is based on the intervals and pitches that correspond to the numbers of Bannet's Birkenau identification tattoo: 93626. My goal was to take something so ugly and turn it into something beautiful artistically."
This concert is somewhat of a family affair. Tell us about your family's involvement.
John: "We're a musical family. My wife Robin is a professional singer and she will be doing a Yiddish solo at the concert. My brother Bob, professor at the Eastman School of Music, plays the jazz guitar and we did a CD together, called The Brockton Beat. And I'm really proud to include our son David, who plays the shofar each year on the High Holidays and the trumpet in our Silly Symphony."
What else should we know about the concert?
John: "We're aiming to create the mood of a jazz club, with seating around tables, and wine and refreshments. There will be serious moments, but the mood will be festive and fun."
Shaarei Tikvah's Jazz Club on Saturday April 25th, 2015 at 9:00pm
Call 914-472-2013 for tickets
General admission $36, Students $20
Wine, cheese and light refreshments included
Mayor Defends Second Tax Revaluation at BOT Meeting
- Category: Local Finds
- Published on 15 April 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Former Trustee Robert Harrison and Scarsdale Forum President Bob Berg continued to ask the Board of Trustees to reconsider a decision to conduct a second tax revaluation in 2016, just two years after the 2014 revaluation. The former board and Mayor Bob Steves passed a resolution to retain John F. Ryan Associates to conduct this second revaluation and to pay him $245,000 over three years. The first payment uses funds that were originally appropriated for the 2014 valuation. Critics have argued that these funds would be better used on road repairs – but since almost $1.3 million in funding is now available for repaving, that argument has lost some of its strength.
Just a few weeks into the job, Mark came prepared with a lengthy analysis of the arguments against the revaluation and the decision making process, outlining why he believes the Village should proceed with this follow-up revaluation. He defended the selection of Ryan, the timing of the revaluation and ended by saying, "it's time to move on."
Speaking to the newly elected Board of Trustees at the April 14th meeting, Harrison reiterated many of the points he has made at previous meetings and in emails and letters to the Board of Trustees.
He said, "Newly elected boards can make decisions – 4 members of the board did not vote on the 2016 revaluation. I hope you will decide not to spend $245,000 on the reval with J.F. Ryan Associates. He was paid to oversee the prior revaluation. He appeared here at Village Hall and I thought his presentation was weak. He talked about Florida – we don't live in Florida. In New York revals are recommended every four years. Ryan originally recommended we do a reval in 2018. He told us the results of the first revaluation were excellent."
Harrison continued, "Now we still have 500 grievances and article 78's outstanding. They cost the village money –and they cost residents money - $500 for an appraisal. If we do another reval, those people will file grievances next year. For 100-200 under-assessed homes, should we spend $100-$200,000 to correct them?"
"I hope this board will push out the revaluation to 2018. Since nothing has been done yet we can just pay him 10-20,000 for his time in the interim."
He asked the trustees to look at the comments on Scarsdale10583.com where he claimed that 353 residents have indicated their opposition to the 2016 reval.
Robert Berg then welcomed new trustees to the board, and said, "I think the prior board reached the wrong decision on the reval and this new board should reconsider the decision." About the process he said, "There were two unadvertised meetings. When I heard there would be a hearing I spoke against the revaluation.
No resident has spoken in favor of doing the reval. It seemed to be a done deal before anyone was heard on this issue."
About the man who has been given the contract to conduct the next reval, Berg said, "I found Ryan's presentation to be unconvincing. Ryan could not give a straight answer as to how his reval would improve on Tyler's revaluation. Until 500 grievances have been settled, the dust has not settled. A new reval will further aggravate residents. I ask the board to have an ample public hearing on it. All I have heard is negative comments from everyone on this when you can't drive down the street without smashing into a pothole."
Mayor Jon Mark responded to the two by reading the following statement: Here is what he said:
I have followed this issue since it arose.
Among other things, I have read letters from Messrs. Harrison and Mattioli; comments on Scarsdale 10583.com; the public comments by Messrs. Berg, Harrison and Nadel at the Board of Trustees' meeting of January 29, 2015; viewed the Board of Trustees' meeting of February 10, 2015 at which Mr. Harrison commented on the revaluation; attended the March 17, 2015 meeting of the Finance Committee; and read the emails sent by residents to the Board of Trustees. I have just listened to Mr. Harrison this evening as he repeated his previously expressed views. In short, though I am just rejoining the Board, I believe I am "current" on this issue.
Criticisms of the revaluation are being made on several grounds. These include that:
It is being done too soon after the 2014 revaluation;
One element of this point seems to be that with some grievances arising from the 2014 revaluation still pending, the 2014 revaluation is not done yet;
The $245,000 price, payable over three years, is too expensive;
The money should be allocated to other things – most frequently mentioned road repair;
The contract was not put out for competitive bid;
The firm chosen monitored the 2014 revaluation and should have done a better job to point out any deficiencies.
The Village Manger once commented in an early meeting that doing a revaluation at four year intervals was a New York State guideline with respect to mass appraisals and therefore a revaluation conducted within a shorter time period was imprudent.
It is understandable that all of these criticisms and comments are being raised. The 2014 revaluation was an enormous undertaking that had a significant impact on many residents and the prospect of another revaluation soon after that effort is naturally a cause for questions. At the Finance Committee meeting held on March 17, 2015, Mayor Bob Steves, the Trustees then in office and John Ryan of Ryan Associates, the firm engaged to do the 2015-2016 revaluation, responded to these questions and listened to public comments by residents. I attended the meeting and listened as well.
Hearing the questions and criticisms raised, I start by taking a step back to consider the matter as a whole. The 2014 revaluation was a very ambitious project and long overdue. The goal was to achieve a more equitable allocation of the property tax burden among Village property owners. For the first time in 45 years, property data was updated parcel by parcel. The cooperation of residents in getting that done was impressive and virtually unprecedented. Over 95% of residents granted the appraisers access to their homes in aid of the data collection process – an almost unheard of level of cooperation.
Following the data collection, new valuations were generated. These valuations were essentially more than 5,900 opinions on values, namely the value of each property assessed in the Village.
No matter how methodically arrived at, any opinion, including an opinion on property value, has a subjective aspect to it. Given that subjective quality, it is not surprising that there would be some level of disagreement with some of the valuations arrived at in the 2014 revaluation. In addition, in light of the size and Village-wide scope of the 2014 revaluation it is also not unexpected that some level of errors in fact or judgment might occur.
It is with this context I have considered the criticisms of the 2015-2016 revaluation.
I start with the benefits to be achieved from the present revaluation – a point its critics do not seem to wish to weigh in the balance. In my view, the present effort represents a good faith attempt to finish off what was largely completed in 2014. In that sense, I view it as an effort to refine what was done utilizing the extensive and current data base compiled in that process. It is expected to eliminate a number, though perhaps not all, of the inequities that may still exist in the allocation of the property tax burden.
To the criticism that it is being done too soon after the 2014 revaluation, I respond that the time to make such refinements and corrections is while the process is still fresh in the minds of those who participated in the work and so maintain the focus on the issues to be addressed. Delaying this re-look at the 2014 revaluation introduces the passage of time into the process which can allow thoughts on what might be improved to be forgotten, fall through the cracks or otherwise not be addressed as they might be. It will also allow the Village to maintain and update, at lower cost, a market-value data base that is relatively current year to year. This should improve the fairness of the allocation of property taxes among Village residents for years into the future.
The fact that 950 grievances, representing approximately 16% of the properties revalued, were triggered by the 2014 revaluation, does not mean that the 2014 revaluation is not done. At this time, 371 cases remain open and it expected that these will be resolved in due course. Grieving property valuations is a well-established process and the number of grievances filed each year fluctuates as the result of a wide variety of factors. In terms of the number of grievances presently cited, it is noted that in the years before the 2014 revaluation the Village had experienced spikes in the number of grievances filed. In a comprehensive report issued by the Scarsdale Forum in November 2010 that supported the initial revaluation, it was noted that "The 2009 assessment roll was the first one to feel the brunt of the collapse in real estate values following the 2008 financial meltdown. Grievances surged to 551. On Grievance Day 2010, 756 grievances had been filed." While the impetus in 2009 and 2010 was different, the effect was the same – an increase in the number of residents who disagreed with the assessed value of their property. Therefore, while the fact that disagreements were prompted by the 2014 revaluation is noteworthy, it does not persuade me as reason for not doing the next revaluation. The pending matters will be resolved in due course as they have been in prior years.
Criticism of no-bid contract: To this point there are several observations to be made (most of which have been articulated by the prior Board). First, there is no legal requirement that the contract be bid out, especially when the universe of potential vendors with the requisite expertise was small as I understand was the case here. Second, Ryan Associates has a base of information and experience about the 2014 revaluation that should not be lightly dismissed or cast aside.
There was discussion at the March 17th Finance Committee meeting about the methodology Tyler Technologies, the firm engaged to do the 2014 revaluation, chose to emphasize in the 2014 revaluation. My take away from that discussion was that the method they chose – the sales comparison approach -- is a reasonable one recognized in the industry. The other method they referenced, but did not emphasize -- the market value approach -- is also industry recognized. Whether to emphasize one method or another is a matter of reasonable professional judgment. Therefore, I find no fault with Ryan Associates as the monitor of Tyler for not arguing that a different emphasis be employed in doing the 2014 revaluation. Ryan's job was not to be a second revaluation firm, but rather to provide oversight that the 2014 revaluation was done within industry standards. They did that.
Rather than view Ryan Associates as somehow unfit for the process now planned, I choose to view them as being in perhaps the best position to refine and correct judgments –while reasonable when made – that appear in hindsight might be made differently. Doing so should further improve the more equitable distribution of the property tax burden, which of course was the goal of the revaluation.
Criticism of dollars to be spent: This issue was addressed at the March 17th Finance Committee meeting as well. As Mayor Steves said, the entire budget process involves making judgments on how tax dollars should be spent. It is worth noting that $85,000 of the aggregate $245,000 was already budgeted for the 2014 revaluation and was not spent for that process. Thus, from one perspective, the present revaluation will use an additional $160,000 of newly budgeted funds, not $245,000.
However, whatever number is focused upon, this project is no different from any other budget item calling for the balancing of competing interests. As I noted in my opening remarks, the Village is emerging from a rugged winter that decimated our roads. We are aware of that situation every bump and swerve we make as we drive about town. The Department of Public Works has been filling in potholes and will be doing road repair all spring. As noted, with the agenda item to be acted upon this evening, we now will have $1,298,800 available for road repair in this fiscal year. That should go a long way to alleviating the most egregious situations.
The issue about the state of Village roads after the winter season is one that recurs each year. Spending an additional $82,000 per year in each of the next three years will not make a material difference in addressing this problem due to the simple fact that there is no permanent fix for post-winter pot holes. This is a condition that arises on an annual basis in varying degrees of severity depending, in part, on the severity of the winter. In contrast, spending the budgeted funds for the revaluation should yield lasting benefits to the Village for years to come.
Seizing on a single comment by the Village Manager and treating that comment as dispositive as to the course of action to be pursued, simply ignores the extensive discussion of this topic that has occurred and our particular circumstances. The reference made was to "guidance" published by the NYS Office of Real Property Tax as follows: "An appraisal of each parcel at full market value is conducted once every four years."
A few observations about this:
The statement is "guidance." It is not a law, rule or regulation.
The guidance given on the period between appraisals is "at least" every four years which clearly implies that if a shorter period is appropriate under the circumstances, those circumstances may be considered. The commentary on this guidance focuses on the question of whether short-term trends may be dramatic enough to warrant a shorter revaluation period.
The 2014 revaluation, by definition a unique event over a 45-year time span, presented the sort of circumstances that reasonably suggested to the prior Board and Village staff that varying from the NY State guidance might be warranted. It is now clear that after several lengthy public meetings of the prior Board on this subject, Board and Village staff thinking evolved to a consensus point of view to pursue the revaluation presently contemplated within a shorter interval following the 2014 revaluation. I have summarized what I believe those reasons are. Looking back at a single comment by the Village Manager and taking it out of context of all that has transpired since it was made fails to give a complete picture of the decision-making process. It is also frankly misleading to those who may not be following the development of the thinking on this issue as closely as its vocal critics.
In sum, I have heard the objections from a handful of outspoken residents about the present revaluation and am not persuaded by their arguments that we should not go forward. It is noted that not everyone who has commented publicly is opposed to the revaluation. In particular, resident Michael Levine has expressed his support for the process as he publicly stated at the March 17th Finance Committee meeting noting that he might do even more than the present plan contemplates.
In closing, I appreciate the fact that residents have spoken out. By asking questions such as the ones posed the prior Board had the opportunity to re-examine an important Village decision in a public and transparent manner. The fact that we now have a new Board in place does not mean that we should hit a reset button on this topic and disregard all the good hard work that has been done. Rather we should build on that effort and therefore, in my view, it is time to move on.
Mayor Announces Almost $1.3mm in Funding for Road Repairs in Scarsdale
- Category: Village Voices
- Published on 15 April 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
At his first official Village Board meeting on Tuesday night April 14th, Scaarsdale's newly elected Mayor Jon Mark was pleased to announce a big appropriation to repair and repave Scarsdale's distressed roadways.
Mark said, "We all drive on the same roads –and this Mayor is very aware of the poor condition of many of the roads in Scarsdale. We will have $1,298,000 in the budget for the year ending in May --which will cover 3.5 miles of roads and should allow the most egregious situations to be addressed. In the meantime three trucks have been out for the past month making repairs and responding to residents. We are addressing this issue in the short term. Winter happens every year – some more severe than others. We will face a similar situation in the years to come. We will address the roads with the resources that we have."
Later at the meeting, the board passed a resolution to accept reimbursements for funds from the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program (CHIPS) of $526,000 and $206,000. These funds will be added to already appropriated funds to total $1,298,800 for road resurfacing which should go a long way toward repairing potholes and installing new roads and curbing.
The Board also held a Public Hearing on the proposed 2015-16 Village Budget which comes in under the tax cap and will mean a 3.33% tax increase for residents. This increase will be approximately $144 more next year for the owner of a home with an average assessed vale of $1,398,818.
Bob Harrison commended the trustees and the Village manager's office on the budget and said he was disappointed that others were not at the meeting to comment.
Susie Rush, President of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale read portions of the league's lengthy statement which can be read in its entirety here. The League also commended the Village for a "well-managed, thoughtful process" and for developing a budget that takes "into consideration the current and anticipated needs of the Village."
Speaking about the tax revaluation she said, "The League commends the Village for completing the municipal-wide property value reassessment in 2014 and was encouraged to hear the Village Manager opine that the project greatly reduced inequities among property owners." The League "strongly encourages the Board to continue to keep its residents apprised of the progress of the 2016 Revaluation Update."
She expressed concern about the deferral of capitol projects such as road repair, new equipment purchases, renovation of Village Hall, repairs and security at the Freightway and Christie Place Garages and the removal of an underground oil tank at Village Hall.
In response to pressure from the state to merge and consolidate Village services, the League asked the Village to seek public opinion on village-provided services and ascertain which ones residents would be willing to eliminate or scale-back or pay for on a fee-for service basis.
Though the Scarsdale Forum usually studies and comments on the Village Budget, this year they declined to comment.
The preliminary budget has been filed and will be voted on at the April 28th meeting of the Scarsdale Village Board of Trustees.
Click here to read the full statement from the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale on the Village budget.
Comedy Night at the Center@862
- Category: Events
- Published on 17 April 2015
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Local storyteller and former Scarsdale resident Sandi Marx will perform on Saturday night April 18 in an evening of comedy at the Center @ 862 at 862 Scarsdale Avenue at 8 pm.
The line-up of featured storytellers includes:
Cory Kahaney - Well-loved comedian who has appeared on HBO, Comedy Central, Letterman, the View, Last Coming Standing, etc., --and an amazing storyteller
Sandi Marx - Multiple Moth StorySlam winner and storyteller who performs all over the NYC area and had us in stitches at our Halloween show
Jim Keyes - Favorite Hudson Valley Musician, Storyteller, and Pros(e) of Pie "regular"
Susan Landon - Multiple Pie-Contest Winner AND a favorite Pros(e) of Pie storyteller
The evening will be emceed by Ivy Eisenberg with Zak Shusterman hosting and serving pies!
Five-minute open mic spots are available along with anonymous participation slips. (Come to the show to find out what this is), and of course YUMMY PIE!