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February 23, 2020

Letters to the Editor

Bedford Village Elementary School
Bedford Village Elementary School Photo Credit: File

Letter To The Editor: School Closure Study 'A Waste of Taxpayer Dollars'

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To the Editor:

In April 2017, my husband and I moved our young family to Bedford Village. We relished the opportunity to raise our children in a neighborhood where we could walk to the park, elementary school, church, playhouse, and local shops. We felt confident we were making a wise purchase since it wasn’t just a house: we were investing in a walkable, family-oriented community.

Our love story quickly turned sour upon news that the Bedford Central School District (BCSD) BOE was considering closing one or more schools, including BVES. There are no truly creative solutions up for consideration, just the crude, blunt tool of school closure.

I’ve attended a number of the BOE’s public meetings and have found the content of the meetings and the publications of the hired consultant, Interactive, Inc., to be distressing in their misleading and sometimes incorrect data analysis, as well as the negative and combative tone of the BOE at public hearings.

The facts are:

  • While enrollment has decreased since the 44-year high in 2005, enrollment levels are currently one child below the 44-year average;
  • Kindergarten enrollment increased this school year by 38 kids – the largest increase in over 30 years;
  • School closings will increase class sizes throughout the district, which will impede the quality of education for ALL BCSD students; and
  • School closings will negatively impact property values by eliminating key neighborhood assets while also suggesting to potential homebuyers that we are a community on the decline.

The BOE has stated that finances are not an issue, so I ask: why have they continued down this path when the data suggests closing a school will not provide any long-term benefits for our students or community? This exercise represents a tremendous waste of our taxpayer dollars that can and should be stopped NOW.

-- Terri Belkas-Mitchell, Bedford Village