Tell Albany it's time to rebuild Yonkers' crumbling schools

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Tell Albany it's time to rebuild Yonkers' crumbling schools

This petition had 1,503 supporters

No student should have to depend on an overworked maintenance staff to protect them from bricks that could pop off school exteriors or chunks of plaster that might drop off inside walls and ceilings.

No student should have to sit all day in makeshift basement classrooms converted from storage rooms because there is simply no other space. 

No student.

But thousands of students who attend the Yonkers public schools endure these conditions each day. The city’s 39 schools are an average of 75 years old. Most are in various states of disrepair and are patched together – day after day, year after year – so that students, teachers and staff can continue the valued enterprise of public education.

Public officials across New York State have long been aware that the schools of Yonkers are crumbling. Five years ago, all but two Yonkers schools were found by inspectors to be in unsatisfactory condition. But our public officials have chosen to look away.

Several studies have found that it will cost close to $2 billion to rebuild and renovate the Yonkers schools. The state must play a leading role in planning and financing such a major capital project. Fortunately, the state has already done so for the Buffalo school system, which has renovated 48 schools since 2000 at a cost of about $1.4 billion. The state has also passed special legislation for similar capital projects now underway in Syracuse and Rochester.

The time is now for Yonkers. Mayor Mike Spano will soon announce a plan to approach state officials about carrying out a project that can no longer be avoided. He will name an agency that will lead the way on Yonkers’ behalf.

Please join us in calling upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie to immediately begin talks with Spano, the Yonkers City Council and Yonkers Schools Superintendent Michael Yazurlo about planning the long-awaited and essential rebuilding of the Yonkers schools. Join us in calling on state leaders to pass special legislation in 2016 that will include adequate state financing for the project, a timetable to rebuild and renovate schools in phases, according to need, and requirements for a transparent planning and construction program.

The children of Yonkers should not have to wait.

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