Monday, Apr 23rd

Last updateSun, 22 Apr 2018 1pm

You are here: Home Content On Our Radar The Elephant in the Basement
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
Letters in Support of Pam Fuehrer for Scarsdale School Board

Letters in Support of Pam Fuehrer for Scarsdale School Board

The following letters in support of Pam Fuehrer for Scarsdale School Board were ...

School Board Approves 2018/19 Budget with Funding for Synthetic Turf and Additional Security

School Board Approves 2018/19 Budget with Funding for Synthetic Turf and Additional Security

The Board of Education approved the resolution for a $157,849,407 b...

Police Report: Firefighters Shore up Central Avenue Apartment After Car Crashed through Wall

Police Report: Firefighters Shore up Central Avenue Apartment After Car Crashed through Wall

Scarsdale firefighters who are part of Technical Rescue Squad 36 assisted in sho...

Storytellers Showcase Their Talent at the Second Annual Tales from the 'Dale and Beyond

Storytellers Showcase Their Talent at the Second Annual Tales from the 'Dale and Beyond

There are so many great tales from the ‘Dale and a host of talented...

Residents Object to Renaming PA High School for Donor Steven Schwarzman

Residents Object to Renaming PA High School for Donor Steven Schwarzman

Though Board President William Natbony insists that the method of r...

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

The Elephant in the Basement

GreeancresPlan(This is the opinion of Scarsdale10583 site founder Joanne Wallenstein.) As we prepare to scrape off decades of paint from the walls of Greenacres Elementary School, lift up cracked linoleum flooring and remove asbestos ceiling tiles, no one knows what will be unearthed underneath. And then what? On Monday December 11 the Board of Education is poised to approve a community-wide bond referendum for an expansive addition to the Greenacres Elementary School, though many questions remain about the viability of the existing building, constructed on a high water table in 1916, 1920 and 1929.

We've tried to get answers to these questions...

Parents have asked the faculty for their thoughts about the school:

• What are the working conditions in the school?
• Have they had health issues due to air quality?
• Can the current structure facilitate 21st Century learning?

The teachers meet our questions with averted eyes and it's evident they are not permitted to speak candidly about their experiences inside the building. What are they hiding and why?

Then there's the environmental testing. After we smelled the mildew in the basement and heard rumors about mold in the building, we asked repeatedly for air quality testing. With the decision for a bond referendum just weeks away and the building committee disbanded, the district finally went ahead with the tests. Lo and behold, at the eleventh hour, they did find mold. In fact after months of delay, the response to Scarsdale10583's FOIL request revealed a long history of moisture and mold in the building. Certainly the district is now doing everything possible to clean it up, but as Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey admitted, "We are installing dehumidifiers in the basement to keep it as dry as possible."

Discussing the results of the environmental testing, Superintendent Hagerman said the district had tested 400 sites in the "occupied portions" of the building. What about the unoccupied portions? Has anyone tested those to see if mold is growing there? Don't we need to find the source of the mold? Is it in the dirt crawlspaces underneath the building and behind the classroom walls? How can we otherwise know what the real cost of a building renovation will be? And how can we know whether or not the infrastructure problems can truly be remediated?

The air quality tests also measured the humidity level in the building. The report on the district website says, "The chief problem with high indoor humidity from a health standpoint is the potential for mold growth. Humidity levels greater than 30% increase the potential for mold growth and high humidity, 60% or greater can cause biological contamination." The humidity levels in on the lower level of the school ranged from 63% to 71% and the humidity in the gym was measured at 65%. What are they proposing to do about it?

Another unresolved health concern is the lead pipes. We've been told that for the most part these pipes will remain within the walls and that the district will continue to do periodic testing and use lead filters to make the water safe to drink. Are lead filters a permanent solution? As the pipes age, do they leach more lead into the water? What if the thresholds for safe drinking water are changed in the future? What is the useful life of these lead pipes? What is the cost to do this testing and purchase filters for the next 50 years?

Without this vital information, we can't assess whether it makes sense to add onto the building. If we give the plan the go ahead and the construction crews open the walls and find mold, what will we do?

We need to slow down and get answers. Give the faculty the permission to speak frankly about their views on the building and any health and safety issues they may have. Permit a thorough and independent environmental assessment of the building, and appoint a committee of parents to oversee the work. Lift the veil of fear about open discussion and let's find the right solution together. All of this secrecy makes us skeptical.

The district is rushing to put the referendum to a vote without providing the community with the facts. Stop hiding what you do know and stop preventing the investigation of what we need to know. Let's confront the elephant in the room, or should I say the elephant in the basement. Find out what's down there and then we can discuss what to do next.

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

Good Work

SETTING

STEAM Day 2018

STEAM Day 2018

STEAM Day at Scarsdale High School is on for Saturday April 21 from 11 am to 4 pm. The event is open to the public and it’s a special opp...

Readmore

Around Town

SETTING

Thorough Nominating Committee Process Yields Two Excellent School Board Candidates

Thorough Nominating Committee Process Yields Two Excellent School Board Candidates

This statement was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Elizabeth M. Guggenheimer, 2018 SBNC Chair
As the 2018 School Board Nominating Committee (SBN...

Readmore

Neighborhood News

SETTING

Why I Applied for the Nomination to the SBNC for Board of Education and Still Want to Serve

Why I Applied for the Nomination to the SBNC for Board of Education and Still Want to Serve

This letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by school board candidate Woodrow W. Crouch, PE

I was nominated to the slate for the Board of Educa...

Readmore

On Our Minds

SETTING

Earth Day Giveaway: Free Food Scrap Compost on April 21

Earth Day Giveaway: Free Food Scrap Compost on April 21

To celebrate Earth Day on Saturday, April 21, 2018, the Village of Scarsdale is making high quality food scrap compost available to all r...

Readmore

On Our Radar

SETTING

Residents Object to Renaming PA High School for Donor Steven Schwarzman

Residents Object to Renaming PA High School for Donor Steven Schwarzman

Though Board President William Natbony insists that the method of recognizing donors to the Scarsdale Schools is at the sole discretion o...

Readmore

Parenting

SETTING

Scarsdale’s Raiders Baseball Team Off to a Strong Start

Scarsdale’s Raiders Baseball Team Off to a Strong Start

Coming off a surprising run to the Section I semifinals last season, expectations were high for the Raiders heading into the season despi...

Readmore

Village Voices

SETTING

Wear Denim on April 25 to Raise Awareness about Sexual Violence

Wear Denim on April 25 to Raise Awareness about Sexual Violence

The Scarsdale Coalition on Family Violence and Healthy Relationships is again encouraging community members, elected officials, businesse...

Readmore

Shout it Out

SETTING

Andrew Weber to Speak on Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction at League Luncheon

Andrew Weber to Speak on Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction at League Luncheon

Andrew C. "Andy" Weber, a 1978 graduate of Scarsdale High School, will speak about "Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction" at the Scarsd...

Readmore

School News

SETTING

Music Notes; Music Program Wins Award and Cuk Conducts Final Concert

Music Notes; Music Program Wins Award and Cuk Conducts Final Concert

John Cuk conducted his last choral concert on Tuesday April 17 This week, Craig Sherman District-wide Coordinator of Music and Performing ...

Readmore

Schools

SETTING

School Board Approves 2018/19 Budget with Funding for Synthetic Turf and Additional Security

School Board Approves 2018/19 Budget with Funding for Synthetic Turf and Additional Security

The Board of Education approved the resolution for a $157,849,407 budget for the 2018/2019 school year at their April 16 meeting with six...

Readmore

The Goods

SETTING

LWVS To Hold Candidates Forum April 30 for Contested School Board Election

LWVS To Hold Candidates Forum April 30 for Contested School Board Election

The League of Women Voters of Scarsdale encourages informed and active participation of Scarsdale citizens in our local government and el...

Readmore

Real Estate

SETTING

Disappointing First Quarter Homes Sales for 2018

Disappointing First Quarter Homes Sales for 2018

Home sales for 2018 are off to a slow start in Scarsdale, while Edgemont appears to be holding its own. For the first quarter of 2018 the...

Readmore

Today's News

SETTING

Police Report: Audi Windshield Damaged with Bullet Holes found on Bell Road

Police Report: Audi Windshield Damaged with Bullet Holes found on Bell Road

On April 8, around 9:30 p.m., a caller reported an Audi S4 with damage to the windshield, parked near the intersection of Bell and Spragu...

Readmore

Arts and Entertainment

SETTING

The Sun Shines on the SHS Carnival

The Sun Shines on the SHS Carnival

An annual rite of spring, the Scarsdale High School carnival took place Friday, April 13th and Saturday, April 14th. The weekend’s beauti...

Readmore

People

SETTING

Storytellers Showcase Their Talent at the Second Annual Tales from the 'Dale and Beyond

Storytellers Showcase Their Talent at the Second Annual Tales from the 'Dale and Beyond

There are so many great tales from the ‘Dale and a host of talented community members to tell them. The second annual night of storytelli...

Readmore

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Programs for Scarsdale Kids