Part of Riverdale Country School's 27.5 Acre campus
Part of Riverdale Country School’s 27.5 Acre campus

While many schools in The Bronx are suffering from lack of decent facilities and programming, the Riverdale Country School in Fieldston (split between 2 campuses in the neighborhood on 27.5 acres) is begging for $52 million in tax-free bonds to construct a new pool, theater, and gym for the country’s fourth most expensive school.

The kindergarten through high school private institution is a school where tuition is a staggering $45,600 a year student and it is unconscionable for them to ask for such monies while so many public schools in our borough barely have adequate facilities for their own students.

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That’s why we are asking parents across the city and our borough to sign a petition telling Ms. Frances Tufano of the BuildNYC Resource Corporation of the New York City Economic Corporation to say NO to this sweetheart deal for a school that clearly has the means and access to capital to pay for their own capital improvements.

As a private school, our tax dollars should not be spent on such projects that clearly do not benefit ALL of our children and perpetuate the Tale of Two Cities that plagues so many facets of our city.

Aixa Rodriguez, an education activist with Bronx Educators United for Justice and Badass Teachers Association, said, “…at time when walls are held up with duct tape and teachers have to sew curtains to replace broken blinds at Lehman High School these fools want a pool? Kids are protesting lack of access to sports #nycletemplayand these fools want a pool? I am furious.”

Teacher made curtains to replace NO BLINDS in a classroom at Lehman HS / Via Aixa Rodriguez
Teacher made curtains to replace NO BLINDS in a classroom at Lehman HS / Via Aixa Rodriguez

According to an article in DNAinfo:

“Riverdale Country, which is a nonprofit, declined to say whether its project will serve a needy population or will meet other criteria Build NYC prefers.

“We feel we have made an appropriate application to Build NYC to finance these projects,” Riverdale Country headmaster Dominic Randolph said in a statement. “Build NYC will determine whether our project fits their criteria.”

The New York City Economic Development Corporation, which administers Build NYC, wouldn’t say whether the school met any of its preferred criteria. But the agency said that Riverdale Country was entitled to apply for the subsidy “so long as it’s compliant with local regulations and best practices.”

The NYCEDC said that if the deal is approved, the city will lose an estimated $817,423 in taxable income from bond interest payments to investors — but money will be made on the back end. The agency claims the city will directly and indirectly collect about $29 million in tax revenue connected to the project’s construction.

The NYCEDC said construction would probably not happen without the subsidy.

“It’s highly improbable that Riverdale would move forward with capital improvements on this scale if not for the tax-exemption,” the agency said in a statement.

But tax filings show the school isn’t hurting for cash.

Riverdale Country’s most-recent filing shows that the school raked in $69 million in revenue and held net assets of $104 million in 2012. That year, it had an endowment worth $18.5 million.

Business Insider also listed Riverdale Country as the fourth-most-expensive private last year, charging $44,600 in tuition.

Randolph, who made $564,000 in salary and compensation in 2012, said many nonprofits similar to Riverdale Country have previously requested and received the tax-exempt bonds from Build NYC.” – via Private School With $45K Tuition Asks City for Help to Build Pool

Please say NO and sign the petition letting the EDC know that this is NOT acceptable and our tax dollars cannot and should not fund further inequalities in our educational system.

 

Top of wall in a classroom held together with duct tape at Lehman HS / Via Aixa Rodriguez
Top of wall in a classroom held together with duct tape at Lehman HS / Via Aixa Rodriguez
 Mystery leaks in a clasroom in use, has happened repeatedly / Via Aixa Rodriguez at Lehman High School
Mystery leaks in a clasroom in use, has happened repeatedly / Via Aixa Rodriguez at Lehman High School

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