STONY POINT, N.Y. -- The North Rockland PTA Council is seeking help from the state for its financially strapped district that has endured significant staff and programming cuts.
PTA parent Maureen Ksiez-Muskopf spoke about the group of 10 to 12 members that initiated a petition that collected more than 1,500 signatures in the spring. She says the district as well as the community has suffered financially due to the Mirant power plant reassessment and closure.
"Property taxes have almost doubled since 2008 and our district has made significant cuts to both staff and program," she said. "The Mirant bond will be with our community through 2036 and accounts for $11.5 million dollars in the school budget."
The Mirant court ordered settlement will cost the North Rockland Central School District $345,000,000 in principal and interest. The Council is urging elected officials to push for legislation to fund this certiorari debt.
The NR Debt Relief Committee will be hosting a meeting open to the public on Thursday, Sept. 1 at North Rockland High School in the Auditorium.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and is designed to give the community an update on the NR Debt Relief effort and plans going forward.
There will be opportunities for those attending to join the group. Members of the North Rockland School District and Board of Education will be in attendance.
"Before the tax assessments, the commercial base had a much larger percentage but now the majority falls on residential customers, at least 50 percent," Ksiez-Muskopf said.
When the group came together in the spring it was mainly PTA members and concerned citizens. They attend board of education meetings for presentations on the budget.
"We saw that the budget contained information that was concerning in terms of the financial situation of the school district."
Ksiez-Muskopf looked into it and found out the company sued local municipalities for the property where the Levitt plant used to be. They won, and in order for North Rockland School District to pay off the assessment, they were forced to bond for $345,000,000 over 30 years, Ksiez-Muskopf explained.
"The North Rockland Debt Relief Committee is looking for more members."