Boundary Line Alteration Information

This page contains current and past communication regarding the proposed annexation of land from the Town of Monroe to the Village of Kiryas Joel. It will be updated on a regular basis as information becomes available.


2017 Communication

Executive Summary – short and long term impacts to the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District

Please view the Executive Summary of the report prepared by The Questar III BOCES State Aid and Financial Planning Service for specific information related to the short- and long-term impacts of boundary line alteration.

October 23, 2017 – Additional questions submitted to the school district by community members

Q: Can the district boundaries be changed independent of the creation of Palm Tree? If yes, is this something that was considered before Palm Tree was an idea? If yes, will it go forward if Palm Tree is voted down? If yes, is this something the district is looking at in sections of Central Valley and Highland Mills where whole neighborhoods are changing from residents who use our public schools to residents who do not?

A: [answer to: Can the district boundaries be changed independent of the creation of Palm Tree?] The answer is yes. It would take two school districts to agree and pass resolutions to agree to move the boundaries and then the resolution would be forwarded to the district superintendent. He would make a recommendation and then that would go to the Commissioner of Education.

[answer to: Is this something that was considered before Palm Tree was an idea?]  When this process was started a little over three years ago, two scenarios were being looked into: the 164 acres and the 507 acres, and Monroe-Woodbury waited on a final decision from the court before making a decision.

[answer to: Is this something the district is looking at in sections of CV and HM?] The answer is no. M-W was specifically looking at the 164 acres versus the 507 acres.

Two resolutions were created if, in fact, the Town of Palm tTree is created. If it does not happen, both boards will have to go back and create two different resolutions, as the present resolutions do not allow the boundaries to be moved if there is a no vote.

The 164 annexation for the Village has occurred and the Town of Monroe has changed their assessment roll to reflect that. Irrespective of the Town of Palm Tree, there has been a change that will have to be dealt with in the future.

If there is a no vote and the board decided to change the boundary, new resolutions would need to be created.

Q: What  impact will our community have when the real estate is removed from our district? I feel this may cause a significant increase in our base rates. Will New York State contribute and make up the difference after we agree to any changes? If so, how long?
A: The impact of school taxes on the community and community’s ability to pay is always foremost in our minds, especially as we develop the district’s annual budget. As the district assessed the impact of annexation, we realized that the immediate net short term loss of $343,000 in tax revenue was both manageable and relatively small in comparison to the district budget of ~$171 million. When we analyzed the impact on a typical house in the Town of Monroe with a market value of $275,000, it amounted to approximately $21 annually. Fluctuations in the tax base occur every year, but it has been our recent experience that the trend has been an increasing tax base, which all other things being equal, will lower tax rates.

As part of the district’s annexation analysis, we concluded that in time if the district did not agree to the alter the district boundaries, the costs associated with new students in the 220 acres would far exceed the loss in the tax base. Our estimate was that these increasing costs would exceed the new and existing property tax revenue by $1.9 million annually. So the conclusion was to approve the alteration of the school district boundaries between Monroe-Woodbury Central School District (MWCSD) and Kiryas Joel School District and accept a small, but manageable, loss now to avoid a much larger and ongoing loss in the future.

The district viewed the boundary alteration as a continuation of the course of action established when Kiryas Joel created their own school district, allowing and encouraging both communities to pursue their preferred way of life free from interference. Moving the school boundaries was the best option available to the district from a financial standpoint and has best chance to maintain the excellent programs and educational services MWCSD provides to residents.

Q: Does NYS have to approve the boundary change, or is the approval of the M-W and KJ school districts all that is needed? If NYS needs to approve this, what is the process?
A: The Board of Education for both school districts must pass resolutions agreeing to change their school boundaries. These resolutions are forwarded to the District Superintendent, William Hecht of Orange Ulster BOCES. Once he reviews the information provided, he makes a final recommendation to the Commissioner of Education. Additionally,  the school district submitted our study completed by Questar III to Mr. Hecht. Finally, the two school districts have completed the process and currently await the decision of the voters on November 7th.

A similar question was asked by two community members. Please see the questions and the answer that corresponds to both below.

Q: During the informational meeting on October 11th, Mr. Egan made a statement that the effect on the school budget would reverse (become positive) over the next several years, but did not give any details to explain. How would this happen?

Q: (via email) Thank you for attending the town meeting at the movie theater on Wed, Oct 18. Your colleague mentioned in his presentation that, in the long run, there would be an economic advantage to the MW school district if the Town of Palm Tree were to form.  Could you explain again the reasons for that prediction?
A: The alteration of the MWCSD and KJUFSD boundaries making the KJUFSD boundaries coterminous with the newly established Town of Palm Tree would result in an annual property tax revenue loss of approximately $880,000 for MWCSD. However, if the expenses associated with students who live in this area are deducted from this loss, the net loss is closer to $343,000 annually. This loss in tax revenue would be a permanent but manageable change to the tax base, ultimately being factored into the budget through incremental cost saving measures, such as the closure of the Harriman Center and resulting utility savings and tax rate increases. The district projects if the full impact of the $343,000 was to manifest as tax rate increases, it would be approximately $21 annually for a home in the Town of Monroe with a market value of $275,000.

In the long term, the district is projecting the expenses associated with students who reside on the 220 acres will quickly outpace the lost revenue from the territory. Therefore, it appears MWCSD would be better off relinquishing, rather than retaining, the 220 acres.

The financial impact in the long term of not altering the boundary is projected to be a net loss of approximately $1.97 million. In other words, future projected costs exceed future project revenue by $1.97 million, making the altering the school district boundary the most advantageous course of action.

Q: If the Village of Palm Tree comes to be, what responsibilities would the MW school district have to the children of the Village of Palm Tree and would that be a change from the responsibilities the MW school district currently has to the children of Kiryas Joel?
A: The KJUFSD is a legitimate and legally recognized public school district in New York State. Therefore, MWCSD has no authority or responsibility to monitor or educate the resident pupils of that district. The responsibilities for oversight and intervention rest solely with KJUFSD. There would be no change in this area due to the annexation.

October 12, 2017 – Questions submitted to the school district by community members

Q: What are the religious/private school tax exemption projections for the M-WCSD and Town of Monroe?
A: If we assume the alteration of school boundaries moves forward, presumably the majority of the new development, including properties eligible for religious exemptions, would occur on the 220 acres of the annexed territory. After the annexation, this property would no longer part of the M-WCSD and, therefore, these exemptions would no longer impact M-WCSD. The development of religious properties outside of the 220 acres is likely to be limited and accompanied by other non-tax exempt development, which would likely offset new exemptions. The local assessor may be in the best position to identify the scope of religious exemptions within the Village of Kiryas Joel and determine if the composition of religious exemptions is similar to the Town of Monroe, and correspondingly, the impact of annexation.

Q: What are the projected population demographics and what are the effects on the town and M-WCSD tax bases?
A: Our projections are calling for the vast majority of development and population increases to occur within the 220 acre annexation territory. We believe high density housing made possible by more permissible zoning within the newly annexed area will result in a large influx of families with children, leading to population density similar to that of Kiryas Joel Village. Population projections for the 220 acres are approximately 13,409 people, of which 6,824 would be school age children. The estimate includes 6,757 students attending non-public religious schools, 63 students with disabilities attending KJ Union Free School District programs and 4 out of district placements for students with disabilities.

We estimate that the total school taxable assessed value of the 220 acres will increase from $6,616,300 to $43,830,600 after full buildout or development. This indicates a loss in tax revenue of approximately $5,832,174 after the annexation area is fully developed. However, the loss in this new tax revenue must be weighed against the new costs associated with providing mandatory services to thousands of resident students attending non-public schools and special education placements, which will far surpass revenue losses.

Q: Will there be school inspections for private schools in the Town of Monroe by M-WCSD for state education requirements and Monroe building inspectors for any safety/CO issues?
A: M-WCSD will continue to monitor non-public schools and programs that receive federal funding in accordance with state and federal guidelines.

Q: Is a ward system for M-WCSD going to be pursued?
A: No, there are currently no plans for such as system.

Q [for the town and school board]: If tax revenues are reduced, services will have to be cut or taxes raised. Can you tell us if services need to be cut, which ones are highest on the list of being cut, and if you could give us a sense of a scale of the cut? (Example: 3 highway personnel or 4 special ed teachers, etc.)
A: Currently, the district has no plans to cut programs due to the potential creation of the Town of Palm Tree. Although, in the short run, a decrease to the tax base will occur, corresponding cost savings changes will also occur, resulting in an estimated net loss to the district of approximately $343,860. This amount will be offset by a combination of ordinary cost savings measures (closure of the Harriman Center and reduction of energy consumption districtwide through the implementation of the district energy savings program) and offsetting increases to tax rates.

Q: How does the formation of Palm Tree save the school district? How is the Town of Palm Tree formation expected to impact the M-WCSD enrollment numbers moving forward?
A: The formation of the Town of Palm Tree maintains the course of action established decades ago with the creation of the KJUFSD. This course of action enabled KJ and the surrounding community to pursue their way of life and avoid unproductive conflict and interference from the other. Furthermore, the school district will be able to maintain board control, which may not be the case if KJ residents begin to buy property and reside within the school district. In the absence of boundary alteration, this is more likely to occur.

The formation of Palm Tree should have a very limited impact of the enrollment of M-WCSD. We anticipate enrollment, which has declined slightly in the last seven to eight years, to begin to increase modestly.

Q: How much of an increase in property taxes can a resident in the Town of Monroe expect?
A: The district estimates that typical residence with a market value of $275,000 would see a $21 annual increase in school taxes. That assumes the full net loss in tax revenue manifests itself as a tax increase and not new and targeted cost saving measures.

Q: What is the per pupil cost for students in the Town of Monroe, but not attending M-WCSD? (Busing, special services)
A: The district does not maintain or analyze per pupil spending by town. Furthermore, the analytical approach used by the district focused on costs associated with the annexation territory, not a districtwide analysis.

Q: How will M-WCSD address the reduction in enrollment for M-WCSD? As enrollment declines in M-WCSD, the cost to the taxpayer will increase to keep all buildings open. Has the M-WCSD considered closing a school building to reduce the cost to the taxpayer?
A: As part of the district’s long range facilities plan, we have been considering all options including closing and/or leasing one or more academic and non-academic buildings. The guiding principal for the district is doing what’s in the best interest of students and families, while balancing a cost effective and efficient school and building operation.

Q: How much of an increase in school taxes can a resident in the Town of Monroe expect?
A: The district estimates that typical residence with a market value of $275,000 would see a $21 annual increase in school taxes. That assumes the full loss in tax revenue manifests itself as a tax increase and not new and targeted cost savings measures.

Upcoming Public Information Sessions regarding the Town of Palm Tree
Information provided by the Town of Monroe

The Town of Monroe will be holding Public Information Sessions to discuss the “November 7, 2017 General Election Ballot Proposition for the Alteration of Town Boundaries of the Town of Monroe, County of Orange, New York.” These sessions will be held at 7 p.m. on October 11 and October 18, 2017, at the Town of Monroe Arts & Civic Center (TMACC) Studio Six, 34 Mill Pond Parkway, Monroe.

Residents are asked to submit questions prior to the meetings. Submissions should contain questions only, without commentary or editorial material. Such material, unless necessary to the questions, will be omitted. Questions that are similar in nature may be combined for purposes of efficiency.

Preference will be given to questions submitted by:

  • Written questions for October 11 session – deadline October 6
  • Written questions for October 18 session – deadline October 13

During each session, residents will be given a maximum of five minutes speaking time. Questions should be directed to attendees and are limited to the issue of the Proposition for the Alteration of Town Boundaries of the Town of Monroe. Questions should be directed to Mary Ellen F. Beams, Town Clerk of the Town of Monroe. They may be delivered in person or by email: maryellen@monroeny.org

Elsie Rodriguez, superintendent of Monroe-Woodbury Central School District, is unable to attend due to a previously scheduled Board of Education meeting. Individuals with questions specific to Monroe-Woodbury Central School District are asked to email them directly to Superintendent Rodriguez: erodrigu@mw.k12.ny.us

Additional Questions

Q: What is the status of the Boundary Line Alteration?
A: The Monroe-Woodbury Central School District Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to alter school district boundaries during a regular meeting on Wednesday, August 23, 2017.

On September 7, the Orange County legislature voted 18-3 to allow a referendum to appear on the Town of Monroe ballot in November. The referendum will allow Monroe voters to decide whether the proposed Town of Palm Tree will be formed, which would include 164 acres of annexed land and 56 additional acres.

Q: What are next steps?
A: The district superintendent of Orange-Ulster BOCES has approved the movement of the boundaries. On the November 7 ballot, Town of Monroe voters will decide whether to approve the creation of the Town of Palm Tree. If approved, the two school districts and their legal counsel will commence discussions about details.

Q: What is the timeline for changing of boundaries?
A: According to the current proposal, the effective date of the school district boundary alteration would be the July 1st following the establishment of the Town of Palm Tree, which is slated for 2020.

Assemblyman James Skoufis has proposed legislation that would accelerate the effective date of the Town of Palm Tree to late 2018 or early 2019.

In addition, the proposed legislation would entitle the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District to additional state aid for building improvements. Under the legislation the district would be entitled to the same funding New York state gives school districts after they have merged to help pay any resulting construction projects.

Q: What kind of capital projects is the school district planning?
A: The M-W Board of Education facilities committee will be reconvening in the month of October to discuss plans for capital improvements throughout the district. A comprehensive capital improvement plan will be shared with the M-W community once details are in place.

Please continue to visit this page for updates related to the formation of the Town of Palm Tree and the movement of school district boundaries.


August 24, 2017 – Update from Superintendent Elsie Rodriguez was emailed to M-W families, staff and resident list

Dear Monroe-Woodbury families,

When addressing boundary alterations, the district’s primary goal has always been to do what is in the best interest of our students and taxpayers. At last night’s meeting, I believe the Monroe-Woodbury Board of Education did exactly that by unanimously approving a resolution to alter school district boundaries.

The M-W Board of Education voted 9-0 to consent to the proposed boundary alteration between the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District and the Kiryas Joel Union Free School District (KJUFSD) to mirror the boundaries of the proposed Town of Palm Tree, consisting of 220 acres. The proposed town would include 164 acres already annexed by Kiryas Joel and an additional 56 acres of unincorporated property located within the boundaries of the Town of Monroe.

Next steps include approval of the boundary alteration by KJUFSD on or before September 6. This will be followed by the Orange County legislature vote on September 7 to determine whether a referendum will be placed on the November ballot allowing Town of Monroe voters to have final say on the separation. The district superintendent of Orange-Ulster BOCES must also approve the boundary alteration. Should these approvals be granted, the effective date of the school district boundary alteration would be the July 1st following the establishment of the Town of Palm Tree.

After evaluating tax revenue loss and offsetting expense reductions, the alteration of school district boundaries results in an estimated average increase of $21 in annual school taxes for a typical residence with a market value of $275,000.

The school district also agreed to cooperate with and actively support the efforts of Assemblyman James Skoufis to seek special state legislation to provide additional aid for the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District. This aid would reduce the burden upon the M-W taxpayers as a result of the significant loss of school property tax revenue due to the boundary alteration.

I want to express my appreciation to the citizens who spoke at last night’s meeting, as well as those who have contacted us to share their opinions. This decision represents years of research and study conducted by the district and I am grateful to the many people who contributed to this work, as well as to Assemblyman James Skoufis for his efforts on behalf of people who reside in our district.

Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank the citizens of Monroe-Woodbury for their support and patience as we worked to find a resolution that best serves our students and all who live here.

Sincerely,

Elsie Rodriguez
Superintendent of Schools

Board of Education resolution  – August 23, 2017

Highlights of boundary alteration presentation – August 23 board meeting

Boundary alteration matrix


August 18, 2017 – Update from Superintendent Elsie Rodriguez was posted to website

Dear Monroe-Woodbury families,

I am writing to update you regarding events that took place this week in relation to the proposed creation of the Town of Palm Tree and how it impacts the potential school boundary line alteration.

The Orange County legislature held two public hearings this week regarding the creation of the Town of Palm Tree, during which hundreds of residents shared their opinions. Next steps include the legislature vote on September 7 to determine whether a referendum will be placed on the ballot to allow Town of Monroe voters to have the final say on the separation. If the legislature votes to approve the referendum, Town of Monroe residents will vote on the matter on November 7.

As you may be aware, NYS Assemblyman James Skoufis recently announced a series of enhancements to the proposal to separate the Village of Kiryas Joel from the Town of Monroe and establish the new Town of Palm Tree. Under current law, if the proposed Town of Palm Tree receives approval, it would be officially created in January 2020.

Assemblyman Skoufis has pledged his assistance.

“I have proposed enhancements that would provide special funding specifically for the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District to completely offset tax revenue that would be lost as a result of a boundary line alteration,” said Skoufis. “The special funding for Monroe-Woodbury would be paired with legislation to accelerate the creation of Palm Tree. As a Monroe-Woodbury alumnus, I know firsthand how much a quality education helps shape lives and I will continue to work tirelessly in support of the school district.”

We are grateful to Assemblyman Skoufis for his continued support of the school district and the important work we do.

The Monroe-Woodbury Board of Education will be holding a regular meeting on Wednesday, August 23 to further discuss our most recent findings. We will continue to post updated information on the district website.

Warm regards,

Elsie Rodriguez
Superintendent of Schools


August 14, 2017  – Q & A was emailed to all M-W families, staff and resident list

Dear Monroe-Woodbury families,

Since my recent update regarding the Kiryas Joel annexation, I have received several questions from residents. Below are responses to these questions. We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available.

Q: What is the revenue difference for the M-W school district between the 164 acres, which were annexed into the Village of Kiryas Joel in 2015, and the additional 56 acres, which would be added to make the proposed Town of Palm Tree?
A: The proposed Town of Palm Tree would be formed by combining two land areas – one 164 acres and the other 56 acres. As a general rule, aligning school district and municipal boundaries simplifies the assessment and tax collection process and leads to a more equitable and understandable distribution of school taxes. The revenue loss for the 164 acre annexation, which is now in the Village of Kiryas Joel but currently still part of the Monroe-Woodbury School District, is $691,615*. The revenue loss for the additional 56 acres is $188,761*.
*calculations using 2017 assessments

Q: Are there any factors that offset the loss of revenue?
A: Yes. If the boundaries were to be changed between the two districts, Monroe-Woodbury would no longer provide services to the students residing in that area. These students, as well as any students who may move into this area in the future, would become the responsibility of the Kiryas Joel School District.

Q: What type of services is Monroe-Woodbury CSD required to provide to students residing in that area of 220 acres presently inside M-W district boundaries?
A: Since many of the students residing in that area attend non-public schools, we are required to provide the following services: Transportation, Special Education Services, Health Services and all related services.

Q: How much would it cost the average taxpayer if the district were to redraw the boundary lines between the two school districts?
A: We are currently working on determining the average cost. There are multiple factors involved in determining property tax, including but not limited to, the specific town where a district resident resides.

Q: Where can I find a map that outlines the specific parcels that make up the proposed Town of Palm Tree?
A: Orange County has created a map of the proposed town outlining the specific parcels that, if approved by the voters of Monroe, would make up the new Town of Palm Tree.

We will continue to update you as we gather more information.

Sincerely,

Elsie Rodriguez
Superintendent of Schools


August 10, 2017 –  Letter from Superintendent of Schools Elsie Rodriguez was emailed to all Monroe-Woodbury families and staff

Dear Monroe-Woodbury families,

I hope you are enjoying your summer break. The summer months pass by quickly as we ready our buildings for the return of students on September 6.

I’m writing to share with you the most recent information related to the annexation of land from the Town of Monroe to the Village of Kiryas Joel. Most recently, Kiryas Joel has proposed to form a new town to separate the Village of Kiryas Joel from the Town of Monroe. Under the proposal, the 164 acres annexed from the Town of Monroe in 2015 – plus an additional 56 acres – would be detached from Monroe to create a new Town of Palm Tree.

The Orange County Legislature will be holding two public hearings next week regarding the proposal. The Legislature will vote on September 7 and, if approved, Monroe voters would decide the outcome on November 7. This agreement is contingent upon the changing of school district boundaries so that the 220 acres are moved from the Monroe-Woodbury Central School District to Kiryas Joel School District. The new town would be legally established in January 2020 if approved by voters.

It is important to note that the school district represents more than just the town of Monroe; we also represent the town of Woodbury, as well as parts of Tuxedo, Chester and Blooming Grove. In total, the school district is accountable to more than 29,000 taxpayers who reside in these towns. It is our job to ensure we make fiscally prudent decisions for our taxpayers.

Making the decision to move boundary lines requires a methodical, complex approach. Just two weeks ago, the district received revised parcel information from the Town of Monroe, numbers that differed from those previously discussed. As a result, the district is working quickly to compile an updated report, utilizing the new data.

Based on the most current assessment information, if the formation of the Town of Palm Tree is approved and school district boundaries are moved, the district would lose approximately $880,000 in tax revenue, an amount which would then be absorbed by the remaining taxpayers. District representatives have been meeting with leaders at various state levels since March, in hopes of identifying ways to mitigate the impact on M-W taxpayers. These conversations will continue.

What next? The district will conclude its study shortly and then publicly discuss the findings and recommendations. Our first, and primary, focus is always what is in the best interest of our students. We will continue to be the voice of the students, families and residents of Monroe-Woodbury.

As always, please contact me at 460-6200, ext. 6201 or email erodriguez@mw.k12.ny.us if you have questions. Enjoy the final weeks of summer!

Warm regards,

Elsie Rodriguez
Superintendent of Schools