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Letter to the Editor: Reminder About Vote on Seaford Avenue School Sale

Seaford Board of Education outlines what is at stake regarding referendum proposal being voted on Dec. 12.

The following letter was submitted by the Seaford Board of Education

Dear Residents of the Seaford School District,

The purpose of this letter is to inform you of an important milestone pertaining to the Seaford Avenue School located at 2165 Seaford Avenue.  As you may or may not be aware, the Seaford School District owns five schools in the district including the Seaford Avenue School. 

This school, which was built in 1935, educated Seaford’s students until June 1981.  In September 1981 all of the district’s elementary students were reassigned to the Harbor and Manor Elementary Schools. Once it was no longer used for the education of Seaford’s children, the school was leased to Five Towns College for 10 years beginning in September 1982 and then to Nassau BOCES from 1992 through 2010.

The rental of the building from 1982 until 2010 generated annual revenue for the district and became part of the revenue stream when developing the district’s annual operating budget each year.   When BOCES, our last tenant, consolidated its operations a few years back and no longer needed the use of the Seaford Avenue School, they vacated the building and thus the district’s revenue stream was reduced by approximately $400,000 annually.  For the last two years, with no rental income, the building remained vacant and cost the taxpayers approximately $100,000 per year for regular maintenance, security, insurance, and other miscellaneous expenses. 

After BOCES vacated the premises, the Board of Education and the district’s administration began a discussion regarding potential uses of the building, including renovations for the possibility of educational services in the future or leasing it again to generate revenue for the district.

In the fall of 2010, in the Seaford Education Spotlight newsletter mailed to all district residents, you were informed about a survey we posted on the district’s website asking various questions in an effort to gain information about the sentiment of the community concerning the future of the building and land.  The results of that survey were discussed at a public meeting on January 6, 2011.  Interestingly, the survey did not indicate a strong desire by the community regarding the building’s disposition; however, several respondents expressed that it may be the proper time to consider its sale. It is important to note that prior to the Board undertaking this initiative again, a committee of community residents explored alternatives and their conclusion was to sell the property.

We wish to share with you the reasons the district sought a buyer to purchase the building and property. The decision was openly discussed at public Board of Education meetings over the past year. Some of the reasons that led to the decision to sell the building were:

  • Enrollment projections for the district do not indicate any need for this additional school building in the near or distant future.
  • The cost to the district to renovate the building would be at a minimum between $5-$6 million.
  • Each year the building remains vacant it costs the taxpayers approximately $100,000 in annual insurance, maintenance, security, and other miscellaneous costs.
  • Each year the building remains vacant, the district loses potential tax revenue which is estimated at approximately $500,000.
  • Keeping a vacant building will lead to its increased deterioration and result in additional unnecessary expense and potential liability to the district.

In October 2011, the district contracted with the real estate firm of Greiner-Maltz to market the building and land. Greiner-Maltz marketed the building and land to approximately 1,500 potential suitors who had the credentials to buy the building and land and/or lease it. Of the 1,500 potential suitors, BK at Seaford, LLC, the owners who are principals of the Engel-Burman Group, presented an offer to the Board of Education. After negotiations over several months, the Board of Education accepted their final offer to sell the building and land for a price of approximately $5 million. This sale is conditioned upon two items.

  • The approval by the voters of the Seaford School District.
  • That BK at Seaford, LLC, obtains the necessary zoning approvals from the Town of Hempstead to build 100 to 113 condominiums.

After we initially planned an October 2012 vote on this proposition, we heard some concerns from the public and had a final revision made to the contract which now specifies that sales will be restricted to buyers age 55 years or older without children. It also includes language that these will be owner-occupied units only.

The revenues from the sale of the building and land, and the future property tax revenues from the new residences will have a positive financial impact on the school district.

What’s next?

As information becomes available, we will post it to the district’s website: www.seaford.k12.ny.us

On Wednesday, December 12, 2012 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. the registered voters of the school district will be asked to vote on this proposition concerning the sale of the Seaford Avenue School building and property. 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

- Seaford Board of Education:

            Brian W. Fagan

            Richard G. DiBlasio

            Bruce A. Kahn

            Susan Ruona

            Jeanmarie Wink

 

Superintendent of Schools:

            Brian L. Conboy

Sal Triolo November 30, 2012 at 03:49 PM
The only thing your no vote will accomplish is a continued devaluation of the property. The longer this remains unoccupied the more desperate the district will be to sell it. There are no other offers on the table. Pick your poison and take a chance Judy. If your bullish on the real estate market than perhaps you will be right. But that's a heck of a bet after waiting 2 years already.
Lorraine DeVita November 30, 2012 at 04:15 PM
@ Sal, A) how do you know there are no offers in the WINGS? B) Implement the business model "do more/ spend less" concept - it WORKS even though you are NOT familiar with it . C) RE over time is the BESt investment with a higher return then the stock market and bonds - D) We WILL be waiting 2 years to SEE the less than1% of our budget proported profit from this sale the money is not going to be handed over FOR TWO years. So we wait anyway. Did you forget that little tidbit? E) EB the developer is casuing quite a name for themselves and more and more ocmmunities are DEFEATING their attempts to build in their communties. Are they IDIOTs or are we naive to think that all is what it seems on paper? D) GO read Newday and then tell me about EB and how their profit is more important then anyhting else. E) QUICK fIxes usualy cause MORE problems down the line THIS is a quick fix . F) pls share again with all how you envison this less then 1% of our current budget will fix our budget messes now and in the future. . as i am still a wee fuzzy on THAT particular solution you are promoting so vigorousy. E) PLs outline the Boards PLANS for this money and exactly how it will be spent and on WHAT exactly if we do receive it. G) also please feel free to make an offer on any house directly in the line of fire of these condos i am sure any homeowner will be more then glad to do a swap with your home if it is of equal value, sq footage etc. BEFORE the condos are built.
Lorraine DeVita November 30, 2012 at 04:24 PM
A financial solution. We can query T- MOBIEL to buy AIR space OVER the MANOR area. We dont even have to sell property we could RENT the Field of DREAMS light poles as mini CELL towers/repeaters as well we could do the same at ALL the schools increasing the coverage amd maximizing our returns.. .. HMM sounds like plan. a win win over condos .. WHAt no one wants a CELL tower in their backyards. com'on it will SOVLE our budget issues long term and i am sure t mobile would be more then happy to throw in a few scholarships as well make the towers look like xmas trees.AND there are no health related issues documented that would preclude this , as well property values NEAR those towers while dropping would be taking one for the TEAM so speak so YES its a win win ! SAl wants one in HIS backyard dont you SAL for the better of the SD BUDGETS!
Judith Conlon November 30, 2012 at 09:54 PM
 Hmm.. How to find a sensible "alternative" for this district that got itself into dire straits  financially, completely ignored community input thus far, and plunged ahead with this  ill-conceived referendum debacle planned behind "closed door" board meetings, effectively shutting down any "reasoned" discussions? An alternative that "makes financial sense?" Do you really want to get us started on the raises they already handed out, one to a Superintendent just before retirement, in lieu of money  better spent on "maintaining" this fixed asset that generated a steady revenue stream to the district for thirty years? You got me THERE.. Oh! I know! VOTE "NO." That definitely makes financial sense: The LAST thing we need to do is give these guys another blank check! And the last thing WE need for our residential community is THIS sale! After things settle down, we can talk to the "new" board (the people who conceived this sale already took off fat and ..happy) and see if they will EVER  listen to "alternatives that make financial sense." Somehow though, I get the sense that too many golden parachutes are lined up on the runway already, and the 2 percent budget cap sure took the wind out of their sails. Nobody  wants to be the last to leave Dodge NOW. So yes, by all means vote for this thing and send them all off to a happy retirement on our dime. Then say goodbye to yet ANOTHER Seaford neighborhood! How DARE we worry about our COMMUNITY at a time like THIS?
nancy greene December 01, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Hahaha, we live in Seaford an industrial park not a farm in Montauk. We are a cement city. Sal you are so right! Like there are so many bidders for this property. Many in this community would rather complain, than try and find a solution. Do you see the Wantagh community constantly bash their teachers and set this disgusting climate. The board members are volunteers and are also getting bashed for trying. All of you on the Patch either need to shut up or put out. I don't see any of you spending countless hours on budgets and trying to find real solutions. All you do is spend your time on this site and complain. Lorraine, I cannot believe you work because you spend countless hours on here! GET A LIFE! It everything is so bad, Lorraine, run for the board and we'll see what a great job you do!

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