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Tarrytown Has no Need to Reopen Tappan Hill School

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Projected student enrollment increases do not necessitate the reopening of Tappan Hill Elementary, Superintendent Howard Smith said during a recent Board of Education meeting.

“It looks like we could seriously consider doing more with Tappan Hill for other leases, and there is interest,” he said.

The school district closed Tappan Hill Elementary in 2010 to tighten expenses. The district is currently leasing out a small part of the building to the Green Meadow Waldorf School's early childhood center.

Smith's advice is based on five-year enrollment projections he presented at Thursday's Board of Education meeting.

He also discussed building capacities for all elementary schools, noting that John Paulding and Winfield L. Morse Elementary will be able to handle projected enrollments. Washington Irving Intermediate, Smith noted, was “tight,” but classes and rooms could be rearranged to handle a projected increase in enrollment.

Smith does not expect a large increase in the number of students from upcoming real estate developments such as the General Motors property in Sleepy Hollow, noting other developments such as Ichabod's Landing in Sleepy Hollow and River's Edge in Tarrytown don't attract families with small children.

Smith said there were several options available for the Tappan Hill school, including leasing more space to programs and organizations in the community. The district is looking at five-year leases.

In addition to leases, Smith noted that the recently-formed Task Force Partnership for Excellence thinks the space could be used for to expand the district's preschool program. The preschool could even be opened up for tuition-paying spots, the task force told Smith.

“There's an interesting kind of idea there about maybe creating a public-private collaboration,” Smith said, noting that essentially the district could lease enough space to cover the preschool program's overhead excepting labor costs.

“I think there are enough interesting and potentially viable options that we should begin taking a more serious look at,” Smith said.

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