I contend that Forest City should agree to pay taxes based on the actual number of students from their development enrolled in the New Rochelle public schools because the school district will incur the cost of these students for decades to come regardless of any projections, predictions or forecasts made today.
The projections are not and will not ever be a fact.
The actual students who enroll each year and the money spent to educate them and the taxes raised to pay for that will be a fact.
Forest City has projected there will be 22 public school students residing in their Echo Bay development.
The issue for New Rochelle is not whether there will or won’t be 22 students at Echo Bay but rather that the number should be fixed...fixed at 22 -- or any other level.
The Mayor has asserted that those who question the figure of 22 students are basing that on two things: myth and politics -- and not fact.
For Mayor Bramson, there can be no principled disagreement with him on this issue just superstition and political gamesmanship.
That is not a very productive starting point for a dialog so I am not going to waste your time to address the Mayor or his sweeping except to say that I believe many in the school community want to know why the City Council is writing a rather large check today that the New Rochelle Board of Education will have to cash tomorrow.
A Boston lawyer once famously argued that “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
The Mayor wants facts.
I have some.
It is a fact that these projections are just that, projections, predictions about the future.
It is a fact that these projections are not actual numbers.
It is a fact that that predictions can often be wrong and have been so.
It is a fact that under the current deal structure, the district will bear the full cost of every student above 22.
Forest City will seek a 20 year tax abatement.
The deal is predicated on a per-pupil cost of $17,500.
It is simple math then that for every 10 students above 22, the school district will be deprived of $175,000 a year, for 20 years, or $3.5 mm under the current deal structure at a present value of about $1.2 million.
It is a fact that Avalon today has 90 students more than originally forecast, a forecast Councilman Bramson up until recently has vigorously defended as accurate.
It is fact that using the City’s figure of $17,500, the 146 Avalon students are costing the school district more than $2.5 million this year, have cost the district many millions prior to this year, will cost the district many millions for many years to come.
It is a fact that the cost of educating the Avalon students makes up 65% of the $3.9 million increase in this year’s school budget.
It is fact that school board Vice President Deidre Polow said the district cannot afford to take these kinds of risks.
These are a few unalterable facts I ask the Council to consider.