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HomeRANTLetter to the editrix: Turf Field Steals Home

Letter to the editrix: Turf Field Steals Home

I read that the divisive synthetic field to be installed at Mamaroneck High School has quietly progressed in spite of a budget that has struggled along, terminating 54 district employees including 10½  teachers plus raising taxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This may be the lowest tax increase in a while, but it has the highest mortality rate I can remember.

 

For me, the issue of “infill” is only part of the challenge of a synthetic field. This type of field is out of date before we begin. Currently, these fields are being removed across the country, from the Pittsburg Steelers to the University of Wisconsin. Synthetic fields are still controversial for health and safety concerns. We are a community that frequently floods in major storms. This project is a missed opportunity for us to naturally and positively affect our storm water management. There are water detention systems that grow grass fields. It was recently presented at the Hommocks Eco-Fair.

 

Financially, this synthetic field is not supported by a majority of our community. In an aggressive campaign to raise funds, our school Public Relations office touts that between 4-500 families made contributions. However, there were 4,160 voters in the election that defeated the synthetic fields. This means at most 22% (if both members of a family contributed money) of the voters were willing to contribute. This is nowhere near a majority. And the total cost will be expensive.

 

At the bond vote, Plan B (no track) cost just under $3 Million. Last fall, the Board’s website said $1.7 Million scaled back to remove lighting, bleachers, parking and storage building/bathrooms. I was also told these items would be paid for solely by the district, without Fields For Kids funds.

 

The tally of money raised is now $1.35 Million which includes $250,000 of State money! Where is the additional $350,000? Will the extra money come from the Board’s discretionary fund, or from small projects under Operations and Maintenance? What changes have been made or items left out completely?

 

I believe this Project should be put on hold until the total expense and the options can be fairly reviewed with the Public. Or sod the field for $50-60,000. The initial money should be well spent even if it was allocated at the very end of last year. I would rather support an environmentally-responsible grass field and retain our programs and teachers. 

 

–Michele Lewis, Lewis and Gould Architects

 

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Barry Silverstein
Barry Silverstein
May 28, 2010 9:51 AM

I am thrilled for the new field and made donations to pay for it. I believe sports is vital for our kids and the grass fields don’t work because we don’t have enough of them, they get overused, worn down and rained out more than most towns because of our low-lying locale. It is not possible to maintain the fields given the huge demand of the schoool, recreation, and travel teams.

Personally, rather than complain about the field, I am now trying to help raise funds for the eight modified and high school teams that have been cut due to the school budget. There are lots of programs being cut (not just sports). Everyone who wants to get involved can to improve sports, music, theatre and the other activities our kids deserve.

Finally, as we raise private funds, we are involving the full Larchmont/Mamaroneck community – reaching out to everyone. I think if we keep the focus on what’s best for the kids, everything will work out, despite these difficult time.

anonymous4
anonymous4
May 23, 2010 1:11 PM

What is most hypocritical is the Fields for Kids argument that the turf field will “bring everyone together.” Let’s face it: our community is divided along social class lines, and no turf field is going get the Latino families from Mamaroneck Avenue invited to the cocktail parties and barbecues at the homes of those who paid for the turf field.

Diane Nelson
Diane Nelson
May 19, 2010 9:23 AM

We voted artificial turf down a few years ago and we had our reasons. Our decision seems not to matter now. I don’t think that this is fair or right. Real grass for all.

jonathan sawyer
jonathan sawyer
May 18, 2010 6:07 PM

Lets just state the obvious, the school board and Field for Kids have purely served their own interest here, they have willingly trampled upon due process and the wants of the community. They have both acted shamefully and have both spent far more time trying to stifle any dissenting voices, rather than look for common ground or common good. They have reached into the pocket of every student and parent and removed what ever meets their fancy. They should both be deeply ashamed, deeply ashamed

jax21
jax21
May 18, 2010 5:44 PM

Hello. Am I living under the allusion that I live in a democracy? When the bond for new playgrounds and turf fields was defeated, there were no line items. Therefore, was the bond defeated because of the cost, the desire for no new playgrounds, or for no artificial turf fields?
In as much as artificial turf fields are dangerous to staph infections, heat retention, and an undesireable playing surface, many professional sports areas are replacing their artificial turf fields with sod.
If this is a democracy, what gives the select few the right to install an artificial turf field without voter approval? The taxpayers in our community are going to bear the cost of replacement of this field in 6 to 8 years. The taxpayers should have the right the decide how their money will be spent.

booboo
booboo
May 18, 2010 4:26 PM

I am not for the turf field.

field
field
May 18, 2010 1:50 PM

Ah, the 500k squirreled away way back when. Another one of those “reserves” that the District built quietly. So in 04/05 500k were squirreled away. 5 years later, they reappear to be used. In the meantime, they have been part of the year on year comparison of budget hikes, so that 05/06 could start with another 500k cushion (not for the fields, that one) etc etc. The honest (in an ethical sense) way of doing things would have been to raise the 500k in 04/05, put them back to the pot in 05/06 if not used and come to the voters in 10/11 for 500k for the fields.

Regarding interest, thanks to Magic Greenspan and his successor, interest rates have been so low that the interest produced is negligible, by the way.

Oreo
Oreo
May 18, 2010 1:20 PM

[quote][i]The greater the knowledge, the greater the doubt.[/i]
-Johann von Goethe[/quote]

BIGMOMMA, two very good roads from which to choose. Obviously you can afford either, perhaps both.

The simple equation, that more money for the school budget and higher school taxes equals more money for the school budget and higher school taxes, is true.

But, alas, [u]the equation that more money for the school budget and higher schools taxes equals better education, is false.[/u]

Well known equations and answers among those with knowledge of education.

Was no one on the school board and no one in the union born before 1970? Perhaps they, as you say, ‘should have known that jobs can be lost and that salaries and real estate values can go down.’ It appears from the ‘contracts’ that they didn’t, and still don’t.

There is a ways to go to following the ‘moral high ground’, supporting education and our neighbors. For following the moral high ground requires knowledge and requires all the people treating all the people with respect and concern for their well-being.

bigmomma
bigmomma
May 18, 2010 11:53 AM

Oreo – if I don’t leave here for warmer weather, then, like my parents in a different community, I will take the moral high ground and support the schools even though I no longer use them. Too many people turn their back once it no longer serves their immediate interest.

And Oreo, at least anyone born before 1970 should have known that jobs can be lost and that salaries and real estate values can go down. It happened in the 1980s and early 1990s, especially in the NYC-area.

Oreo
Oreo
May 18, 2010 10:15 AM

[quote][i]Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.[/i]
– Will Durant[/quote]

Catherine W. is correct, our schools and school taxes have become a Ponzi scheme, with people moving here for K-12 and forcing others by taxation to leave the neighborhood they’ve built; robbing Peter to pay Paul. How ironic that we’re called a developed country and an educated community.

Catherine W.’s math is also on the mark. It appears that our schools must teach a new math and a new economics, omitting crucial numbers and facts.

Too many have learned too little from the current economic crisis – that we can go on spending money we don’t have, leaving the debt to some distant future. It doesn’t work and not fair to the sportsmanship of those who might play on the fields. Winning now may not compare to their future losses – financial and health.

Do we pay ‘Debbie’ from the school to provide what appears to be propaganda?

[quote][i]A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.[/i] – George Santayana[/quote]

‘Adults’ who expect the schools to be responsible for all education and child care are certain to be disappointed. And probably disappointed in the schools and their children as well. Perhaps they’ll expect others to throw more money at the problem, to obtain a magical solution. Dream on or wake up and do something about it.

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