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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

The smell of pine, wood and scented candles greet customers with a sense of home as they cross the wooden threshold to the Amish Craft Barn in Seaford. There they will find dolls, birdhouses, quilts, ceramic turkeys, hand-painted Christmas trees, oak furniture and other seasonal and holiday tchotchkes.

 

Massapequa natives Frank and Pam Hoerauf started The Amish Craft Barn & Gift Shoppe 20 years ago after an inspiring visit to Pennsylvania.

Holidays increase daily congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

The Island Trees Cross Country teams continue their improvement in 2014. This year the girls’ team has a record of 8-2 and with their victories over Clarke and Wheatley High Schools, they clinched the Division Championship for the first time in Island Trees High School history.

 

The girls are led by senior Captain Angela Brocco who has been rewriting the girl’s record boards. Brocco set the school record for the Warwick Valley 5000 meter course on Sept. 20. 

This season the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Division Avenue has the rare ability to fill every position on the field with a member of the senior class. All 11 seniors have made contributions to the success of this year’s squad.


Calendar

Turkey Cookie - November 21

Lost Nights - November 22

Town of Hempstead Meeting - November 25


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