Written by Levittown Tribune Editorial Staff Wednesday, 26 February 2014 00:00
In light of the overwhelming response from the community, surrounding a controversial proposal to develop 11.3 acres of Island Trees school property—currently occupied by the Karopczyc and Gallow schools—to make room for 160 to 247 housing units for seniors over 55, school district officials are now saying they plan to slow down their process.
“As a result [of the community forum on Feb. 10] the district will solicit volunteers to study the Farmedge property in more detail,” said Island Trees School Superintendent Dr. Charles Murphy.
Over 500 concerned parents, teachers, students, faculty and staff recently attended the forum to lob questions at the district Board of Education surrounding the proposal, plans to relocate the library, enrollment, student safety and several other aspects of the project that the district has yet to address.
According to Murphy, the district now plans to assemble a volunteer committee, which will be responsible for investigating a number of new options in order to determine whether or not it would be in the best interest of the school and its taxpaying public to sell the entire 11.3 acres, to sell just Karopczyc, to sell just Gallow, or to maintain the status quo.
The Island Trees Board of Education estimates that the sale of the property would save the district approximately $200,000 in maintence costs to keep both Gallow and Karopczyc open, in addition to the estimated cost of the sale.
With the additional input from the community, the district plans to leave any final decision on the project up to a public referendum that will be held separately from the school budget vote in May. In addition, the developer can at any time change the project by petitioning the Town of Hempstead.