Tuxedo's and Greenwood Lake's School Districts - What is Next?
December 19, 2007

Moving the Greenwood Lake high school students out of the Tuxedo School District has been temporarily taken off of the table by the overwhelming vote of the Warwick Town residents on December 13th. So what should be the focus of the Tuxedo School District Board going forward as it relates to the Greenwood Lake students? 

We have two comments about the direction of our Board’s focus.

Very shortly, both the Tuxedo and Greenwood Lake School Boards must sit down to begin negotiating a new Tuition Agreement for the school year beginning in September of 2008. Historically, over the last 27 years, the Tuxedo Board’s approach to these negotiations has been to treat Greenwood Lake as a partner by making concessions to contain the tuition costs for the Greenwood Lake students, which the Tuxedo tax payer then invariably covered.  Despite the Tuxedo Board’s best efforts at appeasement over the years with the Greenwood Lake Board, this approach has not worked. In 1996, Greenwood Lake approached Highland Falls seeking a move there. In 2005 they entertained discussions with Chester and in 2007, it was Warwick’s turn. Clearly, Greenwood Lake’s Board is not as interested in the quality of the education for its high school students so much as the cost of this education. Nor does the Greenwood Lake community want to undertake the cost of building its own high school. Given that the Greenwood Lake Board continues to show zero loyalty towards the Tuxedo School District, despite Tuxedo’s best efforts to help them contain tuition costs, (costs which the Tuxedo tax payers have subsidized) what should Tuxedo’s negotiation posture be going forward?

First, TPfyi believes that because of the Greenwood Lake Board’s apparent desire and continued attempts to leave the Tuxedo School District, they should be treated as renters going forward – not partners.  Greenwood Lake students should be charged the full Seneca Falls Formula tuition amount in each and every case. The policy of charging these tuition students less than the full Seneca Falls formula must be ended now, especially given that Tuxedo tax payers have had nothing to show for the previous Board policy of appeasement. This policy has bought us nothing, while costing our tax payers plenty.

Second, given that the Tuxedo Board has now bought some time based upon Warwick’s vote, it needs to focus on developing other sources of revenue to reduce the high school’s dependence upon the Greenwood Lake students. Perhaps the establishment of a long range planning committee comprised of Tuxedo residents would be a good starting point.  Possibly some of the alternative ideas explored by the Tuxedo Board prior to the Greenwood Lake and Warwick referendums might be worth a detailed review to see if incorporating one or more is sensible and viable.  In particular, Superintendent Zanetti says that Tuxedo “is ready to take the necessary steps  to convince the New York State Legislature and the Governor that the state aid system for Greenwood Lake/Tuxedo is inequitable and must be fixed immediately.”  We agree, but we also wonder why it has taken so long for our Superintendent to be ready to take these actions.

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