Thursday, 23 January 2014 00:00
The North Hempstead Town Board voted unanimously last month to approve a land swap plan between the North Hempstead Housing Authority (NHHA) and the Town of North Hempstead (TONH). The TONH will give the housing authority a parcel of land in New Cassel for the development of affordable housing. Councilwoman Viviana Russell, who represents the first district that houses the parcel of land being swapped, helped to move the project forward from a swap idea that emerged almost two years ago.
During the same two years, the Westbury School District reported that it has experienced an explosion in student enrollment that has increased the attendance of in-district students from New Cassel to a staggering 85 percent. With the declining student enrollment
from the Villages of Westbury and Old Westbury, the primary contributing area overcrowding the school district is New Cassel. Since existing affordable housing is not generating sufficient school property tax revenue to support the increase of number of New Cassel
students attending the district schools, it is reasonable to expect that any affordable housing planned, created and developed by the NHHA and the TONH’s Community Development Agency (CDA) will not take into account the destructive impact of more housing for families with school age children on the school district’s infrastructure.
With two school board trustees, Rodney Caines and Siela Bynoe, also as members on the respective boards of the CDA and NHHA, you would believe that the Westbury School District is well represented and that Viviana Russell is aware of the plan’s damaging affect and effect of overcrowding on student achievement. This belief is wishful thinking. There is a New Cassel vision that is blind to the deficiencies and needs of the Westbury schools.
In what is meant to appear as an unrelated matter, the TONH is considering a proposal that would ease restrictions aimed at discouraging illegal basement apartment housing in New Cassel that prohibit residents from having either a basement entrance from an outside stairwell and/or a bathtub/shower in the basement. Viviana Russell and newly-elected town supervisor Judi Bosworth are on board for the proposal’s consideration to be heard this month at a Town of North Hempstead Public Hearing reported to be held on Tuesday the 28th.
School district taxpayers: In the TONH, no other residents allow their community to either become a dumping ground for illegal housing because of code revisions, or have affordable housing built when it overburdens the system. In our school district community, individuals (positioned by special interest politics and propped up by the popular vote of the apathetic community) conspire against best interests and many residents are forced to seek an alternate education for their children outside of the district’s schools despite increasing property taxes. It’s time for the silent majority to speak up and out against corrupt behavior at the 7:30 p.m. public hearing on Jan. 28 at Town Hall, 220 Plandome Road, Manhasset.
Elected officials and appointees residing in the Westbury School District: Viviana Russel, Rodney Caines, Siela Bynoe and Robert Troiano (TONH’s director of operations appointee: duties to include liaising to NHHA and CDA) – take a position that supports the
Westbury schools and not along a path that overcrowds our school district.