Less than a week after a new iteration of the Chappaqua Crossing Final Environmental Impact statement (FEIS) was released, the Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education has sent out an email to the community highlighting concerns over how the proposal is being handled on the part of developer Summit/Greenfield.
In particular, the board stated that the cost of a potential increase in enrollment must be considered, in addition to whether or not the school system is at or below capacity.
"SG has cited available physical capacity as justification for their assumptions that the District will not be impacted by this project," the statement reads in referencing Summit/Greenfield as SG. "Physical capacity cannot be considered without also considering the cost of changes in student enrollment. Our primary concern with the proposed development is not where to put additional students. Rather, it is how to equitably fund their education."
The board also states that if the housing units are not taxed on a "fee simple" basis, then an increase in school taxes and decrease in services is possible. Fee simple, according to the board, means "outright ownership, taxed as single family house, not subject to condominium tax."
The school board will hold a joint work session with the New Castle Town Board on Aug. 10, in whcih Chappaqua Crossing will be an item discussed. It will take place at 7 p.m., at New Castle Town Hall in downtown Chappaqua.
Additionally, members of the public can attend next Tuesday's regular Town Board work session, in which the proposal will also be discussed. There will also be an information session on the town's part, which will be held Sept. 28.
Update: In an email received subsequent to initial publication, Board of Education President Janet Benton explained that while capacity means they have space to house more students, it does not include operating costs for having more, such as the cost of staffing, as well as transportation and supply costs.
"We adhere to district guidelines to determine the number of students per class by grade level," Benton wrote. "It is quite possible for additional children at any one grade level to bring us up to the maximum number and necessitate the need for an additional classroom section, thereby increasing the number of teachers we need."