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School Board Reveals $18M Proposal

In response to the criticism from the community over the proposed sale of 11.3 acres of school district property housing the Stephen E. Karopczyc and Geneva N. Gallow school facilities, the Island Trees  Board of Education has revealed the details of an $18 million proposal to develop housing for seniors (age 55 and up).

 

“People should be aware of the whole story,” said Island Trees Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy. “There is this perception that [the board] acted hastily... It was not just a quick decision over chump change.”

 

After losing a $340,000-a-year lease with Nassau BOCES special education preschool program, the school board sought a new tenant for the Gallow school. Unable to find an appropriate tenant, the Board of Education started investigating a sale of the property. 

 

A recent letter from the Island Trees Board of Education states that as a result of its investigation, the board hired Breslin Appraisal Co., which valued the property at $5.5 million.  “Remarkably, the first round of real estate bids produced offers far and above the appraisal and what the Board had envisioned for the property,” the letter says. 

 

Last December, the district received an initial bid of $17.2 million for the property, which it said is higher than any Long Island school district has been offered for a similar property.  

 

“In truth, the Board would have been severely criticized for not pursuing their mandated fiduciary responsibility of gaining the highest and best offer for the property,” the board continued, “after all, how could the board not entertain an offer of this magnitude?”

 

After reviewing the proposal, the school district’s real estate consultant, Oxford and Simpson, negotiated with various bidders, eventually driving the offer over $18 million. 

 

In February, the district held a community forum to announce the proposal to develop 147 to 250 condominium units for seniors. Over 500 parents filed into the Island Trees High School auditorium in vehement opposition to the project. 

 

“[The board] has taken a lot of hits from this,” Murphy said. “They did it with the best of intentions.” 

 

In response to the outpouring of complaints, school officials have said the district will create a committee of community stakeholders to review options for the property. According to Murphy, there are approximately 60 people already interested in serving on the Farmedge committee. 

 

“With this information, the public may understand more clearly that the Board has had the best interests of both the community and the students in mind from the very start,” he said. “We tried to maximize the value for Island Trees residents.”

News

More than 475 runners from all across Long Island, came together on Aug. 30, for the tenth annual Companions in Courage one-mile run.

 

For Andrea Kopatka, 49, of Levittown, this was her first race in three years. 

 

“I wanted to run this race before I turned 50,” she said. “It was on my bucket list.” 

Over the summer, 13-year-old Zachary Martin of Levittown was named an All-American athlete for his performance on the gridiron, earning him an invitation to the ninth annual Offense-Defense Youth All-American Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

 

Martin, a defensive lineman for the Wisdom Lane Middle School Wildcats, said he was selected among a group of young athletes after attending a rigorous five-day football camp at LIU Post.  


Sports

The National Brain Tumor Society hosts its Long Island Brain Tumor Walk on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Jones Beach State Park, 1000 Ocean Parkway, Wantagh. Registration is from 8 to 9 a.m. Programs and activities run from 8 a.m. to noon.

Michelle Duffy of Levittown was recently named head coach for the Blue Angels’ cross country program at the College of New Rochelle. 

 

“We are very pleased to have a coach with Michelle’s pedigree take the reins of our cross country program,” said Athletics Director Harold Crocker. “Her success athletically and academically, as well as her ability to mentor and guide young women, makes her the ideal coach for the Blue Angels.”


Calendar

Levittown Board of Ed - September 10

Patriot Day - September 11

Annual Country Fair  - September 13


Columns

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