Cost Analysis/Princeton Plan Study - FAQ
Q: Does the Princeton Plan model have any proven academic benefit?
A: Research does not show a correlation between student achievement either increasing or decreasing as a result of adopting the Princeton Plan. However, the Princeton Plan does create an environment more conducive to student achievement, due to equitable class size and student distribution across school buildings.
Q: How can we calculate the tax savings of the Princeton Plan?
A: We have posted a Tax Calculator on the home page of the district website to help families calculate the difference in projected taxes between a budget with the Princeton Plan and a budget without. All taxpayers will pay less taxes with the Princeton Plan model. Calculate the difference by entering your Assessed Value into the calculator. Your projected tax savings over the next ten years will be displayed.
Q: Will class sizes increase as a result of the Princeton Plan?
In September 2021, we are projecting that a first grade class in one elementary school will have 11 students, while a first grade class at another school will have 20. The Princeton Plan eliminates these wide discrepancies by ensuring equitable class size across all grade levels. Implementing the plan in 2022 would yield an average class size of 20.9 students, eliminating these wide disparities.
Q: Will students continue to receive needed services?
A: No services or programs will be reduced or cut. SPED, AIS, enrichment will all remain in place. Equal class sizes will provide a better opportunity to meet the needs of all of our students.
Q: Will the Princeton Plan increase students’ time on a bus?
A: In our current model, we have elementary students on the bus for as long as 30 minutes. We are estimating bus rides in the 30-40 minute range under the Princeton Plan.
Q: Will there still be opportunities for older student role models in the elementary schools?
A: We will continue to provide opportunities for older students to mentor and spend time with younger students, such as middle school students visiting Furnace Woods and high school students visiting Frank G. Lindsey. This will remain a priority, as we plan for implementation. The proximity of our school buildings to one another will allow us to continue to provide these opportunities.
Q: What was the purpose of the Cost Analysis/Princeton Plan Study, and why was it commissioned?
A: The study was commissioned to provide the district with a third party, objective analysis of various data points so that it may make an informed decision regarding school closures and/or student reorganization.
Q: Would the district consider moving attendance boundaries to create more equitable enrollment in all three elementary schools?
A: While this was a consideration, it is important to underscore that the issue is not about equitable enrollment in three schools; it’s about equitable enrollment within the grade levels. Efficiencies arise when you have more students in the same school that require the same education (i.e. grade level). If we were to redistrict or rezone, we’d have to do so quite frequently, perhaps annually, to balance enrollment and grade level enrollment in each of the three elementary schools. Currently, we have an average elementary class size of 19.2. However, we have some classrooms with 13 students and others with 25. The key for efficiencies is to house grade levels together for balance within those grade levels.
Q: Has the district given consideration to closing elementary schools and trying to sell them?
A: In short, no. There are not great savings in closing an elementary school. The district would still need to carry insurance and provide security to the school, in addition to heat, electricity and running water. Closing and attempting to sell a school could require a public vote. Moreover, the cost of an addition to an existing school (to accommodate more students) also would require public approva and borrowing, which would raise taxes. This would take years and years to implement. Furthermore, in order to sell an elementary school, a potential buyer would need to navigate many hurdles, including municipal zoning regulations.
Q: Is it possible that part of the Indian Point campus can be divided and sold for business purposes?
A: In short, yes. However, Entergy (the owner of Indian Point) has made it clear that it will not pursue this. The owners have stated that the company selected and approved to decommission the plant would have the authority to do so if they choose. The state and the Town of Cortlandt have conducted multiple studies that suggest there are parts of the campus that could be used for future business development, increasing our tax base.
Q: Wouldn't significant changes be needed as far as adding/ changing bathrooms? What other changes would be needed for example to make a school all K-1?
A: No physical or structural changes need to be made should we adopt a Princeton Plan. All three existing elementary schools have enough existing bathrooms in classrooms to accommodate projected kindergarten classrooms. All three existing elementary schools have enough classrooms to accommodate projected number of classrooms needed as well.
Q: When would a decision need to be made, and how long would it take to implement the Princeton Plan?
A: A: Should the BOE wish to implement the Princeton Plan for the 2021-22 school year, a decision needs to be made in April 2021. This will provide the district with ample time to identify which staff would work and teach where, as well as plan thoughtful transition activities for students and families.