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Ossining Community Preps for Tuesday's Bond Vote

OSSINING, N.Y. – When the Ossining School Board moved forward with the $41.6 million bond proposal in January, Superintendent of Schools Phyliss Glassman mentioned compromise.

“Some people wanted a lot more to the bond referendum proposal, some people wanted to streamline it,” Glassman said in January. “We believe that we found that common ground, a compromise.”

On Tuesday, Ossining voters will have the opportunity to tell the district if the compromise was enough. The bond goes up for a public vote from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 6 at the Ossining High School. District officials are scheduled to give public tours beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday for AMD Middle School and Ossining High School.

The previous $69 million bond proposal was defeated in April 2011 by roughly 500 votes. If approved, the new proposal should not cause any increase in the tax levy from current levels because of the potential new borrowing taking effect at the same time older loans are paid off, according to documents from the school board. But community members are torn on where Tuesday’s vote will go.

“There is no time like the present to reduce the effect of the proposed bond that taxpayers will be asked to pay from 2016 through the year 2036,” said Ossining resident Robert Little in a letter to The Daily Ossining. Little, who has a website dedicated to opposing the proposal , called the project’s objectives “cultural fluff.”

Little did not wish to comment further, but said he’d like to allow his statements to come from his letter.

“If you could barely afford to scrape together your school taxes a few weeks ago at the filing deadline,” he wrote, “just imagine how difficult or impossible it will be to pay your taxes for this proposed bond in the decades of the 2020s and 2030s.”

Ossining parent Lisa Rudley, however, said the bond proposal is “absolutely necessary.” Rudley also pointed out that she had yet to hear for an argument that the proposal was unnecessary from any in opposition.

“We need this. It’s not a matter of an if, it’s how we get it done,” she said Wednesday. “Our boilers are at the end of their lives, the roof is leaking and there are cracks all over at AMD. We have to address these needs. And this is the barebones bond.”

Rudley said she voted in favor of the previous bond proposal but understood that cuts needed to be made.

“I think they did a great job of paring it down to only get to the necessary items,” Marilyn Wishnie of Ossining said. “It’s been a long time since improvements have been made and just like our houses, some things need work and we can’t just let it fall apart.”

Wishnie added that she does not have kids or relatives in the school district.

“I’m not saying this as a parent, I’m saying this because I know how important it will be for our community,” she said. “I do have a vested interest because I live in this community. I pay taxes and I want them to go for things that are helpful and when the infrastructure is crumbling or you’re running out of space, I think that’s important for me to get out there and say we need to support our schools.”

More information about the bond can be found on the Ossining Union Free School District website . The Ossining Citizens For Schools also has a website supporting the proposed bond.

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