Cost Analysis Study/Princeton Plan

  • April 12, 2021 Update:

    At the April 7, 2021 Board of Education meeting, the school board voted in favor of moving forward with the reorganization of the district’s three elementary schools, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. The reorganization will involve “grade banding,” meaning students in the same grade will attend school in the same building. This is a version of what is commonly called the Princeton Plan. The district will still have three elementary schools, but they will be organized as K-1, 2-3, and 4-5 school buildings rather than the current K-5 arrangement.

    This new alignment will sustainably address variable student enrollment in each grade level across the district. It will also afford greater flexibility and specificity of educational experiences for all of our students, whether they are general education students, special education students, or advanced learners.

    The board’s decision is the culmination of four years of work in response to the loss of revenue from Indian Point’s closure. This work was multifaceted and included advocacy efforts, as well as a thorough examination of our district operations in order to find potential savings. The grade-banding configuration of our elementary schools was shown to offer taxpayers measurable tax avoidance without reducing any of the educational services our schools already provide.

    This spring, the district will be working to establish a timeline for the plan and will update the community as soon as that information becomes available.

    March 11, 2021 Update:

    The Princeton Plan Stakeholder Committee met on March 8 and presented an update at the March 10 Board of Education meeting. Click here to watch a video of the presentation; scroll down to “Communications Archive” below to see the PowerPoint presentation, under "Princeton Plan Stakeholder Committee Update: 03-10-21."

    Throughout the month of March, Superintendent Joseph Hochrieter, along with the district’s administrative team, will host a number of community forums on the topic of the Princeton Plan. Click here for forum dates and times. Meeting links will be posted ahead of each forum. These dates are in addition to upcoming PTA meetings, during which the Princeton Plan will be discussed.

    Questions can be submitted ahead of each forum at the following link: Princeton Plan - Question Submission Form. Please note that all questions must be submitted in advance. Every effort will be made to incorporate answers to these questions during the forums.

    Each presentation will begin with an overview of the Princeton Plan, as well as the input from the Stakeholder Committee presented at the March 10 Board of Education meeting. Topics will include, but are not limited to, special education, transportation, budget/finance, instruction, and implementation timeline.

    January 26, 2021 Update:

    Over the past few weeks, the Princeton Plan Stakeholder Committee has met with representatives from numerous school districts where the plan has been implemented. The committee will be scheduling follow-up meetings with these districts to address additional questions and concerns.

    Hendrick Hudson’s elementary school teachers and principals will now begin meeting with colleagues from other districts to discuss the merits, as well as the challenges, of the Princeton Plan. There will then be follow-up meetings with the committee, during which all committee members will be able to share their thoughts, before a report is produced for the Board of Education and community.

    Click for here for highlights from the January 20, 2021 Board of Education meeting, which includes a financial overview and projected staffing patterns related to implementation of the Princeton Plan. Click here for a graphic illustrating the projections that was shared at the BOE meeting.

    January 6, 2021 Update:

    Over the course of early January, members of the Princeton Plan Stakeholder Committee will have the opportunity to participate in a number of virtual meetings with representatives from Somers, Ossining and Tarrytown school districts. The purpose of these meetings are to have extended dialogue regarding their elementary organization and discuss strengths and challenges with respect to curriculum and instruction, social and emotional learning and parent involvement. 

    Questions for these meetings were formulated at the November 24 Stakeholder Committee meeting. Members will have the opportunity to have their questions answered directly from these representatives, as well as ask follow-up and additional questions. 

    Please see links under Community and Parent and Resources, below, for additional articles and resources regarding the Princeton Plan.

    November 24, 2020 Update:

    On Tuesday, November 23, the Princeton Plan Stakeholder Committee held its first meeting, virtually. More than 30 individuals participated, including Hendrick Hudson School District staff, community and business leaders, and parents.

    The purpose of the initial meeting was to help the committee better understand the issues facing the district, familiarize members with the Princeton Plan model, review the results of recent staff and community surveys, and provide a forum for  questions and feedback.

    John McCarthy, recently retired Assistant Superintendent at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES facilitated the meeting. While at PNW BOCES, he led numerous workshops, presentations and retreats with the Hendrick Hudson Board of Education, and he has worked with the district in an advisory capacity for years.

    Click here to view the presentation that was shared during the meeting. Related documents will be posted as they become available.

    October 2020 Update:

    In early 2020, The Hendrick Hudson School District began exploring a grade-based reorganization of its elementary students, commonly known as a Princeton Plan approach. This approach eliminates the use of geographic district lines to assign students to schools and instead puts all students of the same age together in one school. A committee comprising school and community stakeholders was formed to study the feasibility of such an approach, however, the Governor’s Executive Order closing schools in March forced us to temporarily put the brakes on the process.

    The committee is now ready to resume its efforts and will be meeting In November for the first time.  In order to better gauge where the school community stands on this topic, we are asking for your input on a brief survey. Please click HERE to participate.

    No decisions have been made to adopt any recommendation at this point, and if a recommendation is to be implemented, it would not occur until September 2021, at the earliest.

    As the process unfolds, the district will be scheduling meetings for families and community members, so that questions can be addressed and next steps can be established.

    You can stay informed via the district website, email communication and social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter at (914) 257-5112 or joseph.hochreiter@henhudschools.org.

    Background

    In 2017 the Hendrick Hudson School District was made aware that the Indian Point nuclear facility, located within the district’s boundaries, was planning to shut down by 2021.

    The closure will directly affect the district’s financial future. Indian Point was a reliable business partner to the district for decades, and Entergy’s payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) have been a source of stabilized revenue – revenue that was slated to continue until 2025. The PILOT payments comprise approximately 30% of the district’s total revenue and help keep residents’ property taxes among the lowest in Westchester County.

    By 2025, the final year of the currently negotiated PILOT, the district would have received just shy of $27 million. However, due to the shutdown, the district will only receive $1.3 million. Relying on taxes to make up the difference would mean that residents’ property taxes could increase 13% every year for the next four years.

    A year ago, the Board of Education commissioned a Cost Analysis/Princeton Plan Study to examine potential cost-saving measures. The aim of the study was to examine the utilization of the district’s schools to determine if we would experience significant cost savings by:

    • Reorganizing elementary students
    • Moving fifth grade to Blue Mountain Middle School
    • Reducing class sections at the high school, based on enrollment      

    The study was completed in November 2019, and in January 2020, the Board expressed interest in exploring the feasibility of implementing the Princeton Plan (a grade level-centered approach) to commence no earlier than September 2021.

    Please revisit this website page frequently for updates related to the district’s Cost Analysis/Princeton Plan Study.

Parent and Community Resources