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Yonkers Mayor Spano Calls for Members to Apply for Yonkers Joint School Construction Board

Post Date:12/07/2016 1:17 PM

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YONKERS, NY – December 7, 2016 – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano today announced his call for submissions to fill three of the nine positions on the new Yonkers Joint Schools Construction Board, the official steering committee authorized to oversee the repairing and rebuilding of Yonkers’ 39 schools. The creation and convening of the board was signed into law this fall by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

According to the legislation, the board will be comprised of nine voting members, three of whom will be joint appointees of the Yonkers Mayor and Superintendent of Schools. The remaining board members include the Mayor, the President of the Yonkers Public Schools Board of Trustees, the Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools, Yonkers Council of PTAs designee, Yonkers City Council designee/majority and Yonkers City Council designee/minority.

Mayor Spano stated, “I encourage qualified and committed Yonkers residents to apply to the School Construction Board. This new board will make significant and impactful decisions that will establish modern, healthy educational environments that will affect our City and children for generations to come.”

“The School Construction Board’s work is truly significant as we move towards sustainable solutions for student success.  Board President Rev. Lopez and I look forward to working with this coalition of leaders as we move the education agenda in Yonkers,” noted Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edwin M. Quezada.  “We cannot expect students to perform at high levels in school buildings that are substandard.  Research shows that safe, healthy environments with access to 21st Century technology and instructional space for art, music and libraries are essential components of successful teaching and learning to prepare students for college or work.”

Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez stated, “The Trustees are ready and enthusiastic to begin the repairs and rebuilding of our schools.  We are grateful for Mayor Spano’s relentless commitment to Rebuild Yonkers Schools and the support of the City Council.  And join him in thanking Governor Cuomo, Senators Stewart-Cousins and Latimer, Assembly members Mayer and Pretlow and our school district staff and parents for their efforts.”

In selecting the three designees to serve the board, the new law provides that preference will be granted to those with expertise or experience in school construction, school financing and education policy. The members also may not be employed or have been employed by the City of Yonkers or the Yonkers Public Schools in the past two years. 

Mayor Spano added, “Thank you to Governor Cuomo, our Yonkers state delegation, our Yonkers Board of Education and all our local advocates for lending their voices in making this first step of establishing this board possible. Now we have a strong foundation to start the next phase of the process, which should include state reimbursements to fund the project.”

Yonkers proposes to rebuild all 39 existing public schools and build three new schools in Yonkers over the course of four phases and 13 years. The average age of Yonkers Public Schools is 75 years old with many as old as 100 years old, making them some of the oldest in New York State. The District is also one of two districts in New York with a growing enrollment teaching 27,000 students, which is currently 4,500 seats over capacity. As a result, students are being taught in spaces that were never intended to serve as classrooms such as basements, libraries and auditoriums. Alternate classroom accommodations including annexes and mobile trailers also have become overcrowded. 

In the coming months, Mayor Spano will continue to advocate in Albany for the state reimbursement needed to fund the rebuilding of Yonkers Public Schools.

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply at www.yonkersny.gov/boards

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