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Rye School Board Discusses Expanding Classrooms

RYE, N.Y. – Proposed renovations within the Rye City School District were discussed at the board of education meeting Tuesday night, though some board members expressed concern with how the project would be funded in light of the statewide 2 percent tax cap.

At the meeting, design firm KSQ Architects presented renovation projects for the Rye Middle/High School, which included ways to reinstate current building space rather than construct new additions. This would include reclaiming spaces not used for instruction and converting them to classrooms.

The proposed renovations are estimated between $26.1 million and $27.3 million, depending on the time frame for completion.

Along with classroom renovations, the plan includes upgrades to the middle/high school’s multimedia facilities, performing arts spaces, air conditioning upgrades for the high school cafeteria and auditorium and a reconfiguration of the athletic field and rebuilding of the field house.

The proposed plan will have to go through a series of financial reviews to determine funding, which currently remains uncertain as the school board continues to assess district funds affected by the property tax cap, which constrains tax allocations for the 2011-12 budget.

The board said that if it approves these capital investments, renovations could begin within a year-and-a-half.

“We have a limited budget,” said Edward Fox, school board member. “I’m concerned about how this is going to be paid for.”

Board member Kendall Egan looked at the renovations as a necessary investment.

“We have to think big on this one,” said Egan.

With increasing enrollment projected into the future within the district, superintendent Ed Shine and board president Laura Slack acknowledged the need for more classroom space at the high school.

“We’re already 104 percent capacity,” said Slack. “We simply need more rooms to educate the current amount of students.”

What do you think about funding capital investment projects for the school district?

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