Rebuild Yonkers Schools’ Joint Schools Construction Board Appointed and Sworn In
YONKERS, NY – December 18, 2018 – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano today swore in the city’s new Yonkers Joint Schools Construction Board (YJSC) at Yonkers City Hall. The Board’s appointment comes after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation allowing Yonkers to create the nine-member board which will help oversee the city’s Rebuild Yonkers Schools initiative.
“Today, we take the next step in our mission to rebuild Yonkers schools,” said Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano. “This board allows us to take tangible actions that require the opinion and expertise of key community stakeholders who will help us secure the necessary funding from our state capital, execute relevant studies and gather data, and secure plans that will provide the safe and healthy learning environment our students deserve.”
The Yonkers Joint Schools Construction Board will help oversee the rebuild of all 39 existing public schools and build three new schools in Yonkers over the course of four phases and 13 years. YJSC board members serve at the pleasure of the Yonkers Mayor and School Superintendent. Responsibilities may include the ability to enter into any cooperative agreements with New York State; to make use of existing studies, surveys, plans, data; to develop and maintain the joint schools construction and modernization plans; and bond for the cost of construction.
“Today is truly momentous for the school district,” noted Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez. “The convening of the Yonkers Joint Schools Construction Board heralds our City’s sincere commitment to address the significant school facilities needs we have throughout the District. The Trustees thank the Governor, our State Delegation, the Mayor and the City Council for bringing this to fruition.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Edwin M. Quezada shared his enthusiasm and eagerness to begin the work. “Our professionals do magical work with limited resources every day. For far too long our students, educators and staff have endured conditions that impede teaching and learning. Constructing new and renovating antiquated schools into 21st Century learning environments with capacity to deliver a state-of-the-art education is now within our reach. This is a sustainable solution for students’ success and brings our City closer to achieving equitable quality education for all students.”
According to the legislation enabling the creation of the board, the Mayor of the City of Yonkers, the Yonkers Board of Education President and the Superintendent of the Yonkers Public Schools serve as ex-officio members while other members consist of designees from the Yonkers Council of PTAs, the Yonkers City Council Majority and Minority leaders, and three joint selections of the Mayor and Superintendent.
The nine voting members of the Yonkers Joint Schools Construction Board include:
1- Hon. Mayor Mike Spano - Mayor of the City of Yonkers (Ex-Officio)
2- Rev. Steve Lopez - President of Yonkers Public Schools Board of Trustees (Ex-Officio)
3- Dr. Edwin M. Quezada - Superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools (Ex-Officio)
4- Robert Rijos (current PTA President) - Yonkers Council of PTAs Designee
5- Miguel Cuevas (construction project manager) - Yonkers City Council Designee/Majority
6- Ronald Matten (finance & operations manager) - Yonkers City Council Designee/Minority
7- Pastor James Hassell (Pastor of Kingdom Christian Cultural Center of Yonkers) – Joint Selection of Mayor and Superintendent
8- Steven Frey (retired Yonkers teacher and former Yonkers Federation of Teachers President) - Joint Selection of Mayor and Superintendent
9- Hon. Andrew Spano (former Westchester County Executive) - Joint Selection of Mayor and Superintendent
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.