The following letter was submitted by the Seaford Board of Education
Dear Residents of the Seaford School District,
The purpose of this letter is to inform you of an important milestone pertaining to the Seaford Avenue School located at 2165 Seaford Avenue. As you may or may not be aware, the Seaford School District owns five schools in the district including the Seaford Avenue School.
This school, which was built in 1935, educated Seaford’s students until June 1981. In September 1981 all of the district’s elementary students were reassigned to the Harbor and Manor Elementary Schools. Once it was no longer used for the education of Seaford’s children, the school was leased to Five Towns College for 10 years beginning in September 1982 and then to Nassau BOCES from 1992 through 2010.
The rental of the building from 1982 until 2010 generated annual revenue for the district and became part of the revenue stream when developing the district’s annual operating budget each year. When BOCES, our last tenant, consolidated its operations a few years back and no longer needed the use of the Seaford Avenue School, they vacated the building and thus the district’s revenue stream was reduced by approximately $400,000 annually. For the last two years, with no rental income, the building remained vacant and cost the taxpayers approximately $100,000 per year for regular maintenance, security, insurance, and other miscellaneous expenses.
After BOCES vacated the premises, the Board of Education and the district’s administration began a discussion regarding potential uses of the building, including renovations for the possibility of educational services in the future or leasing it again to generate revenue for the district.
In the fall of 2010, in the Seaford Education Spotlight newsletter mailed to all district residents, you were informed about a survey we posted on the district’s website asking various questions in an effort to gain information about the sentiment of the community concerning the future of the building and land. The results of that survey were discussed at a public meeting on January 6, 2011. Interestingly, the survey did not indicate a strong desire by the community regarding the building’s disposition; however, several respondents expressed that it may be the proper time to consider its sale. It is important to note that prior to the Board undertaking this initiative again, a committee of community residents explored alternatives and their conclusion was to sell the property.
We wish to share with you the reasons the district sought a buyer to purchase the building and property. The decision was openly discussed at public Board of Education meetings over the past year. Some of the reasons that led to the decision to sell the building were:
- Enrollment projections for the district do not indicate any need for this additional school building in the near or distant future.
- The cost to the district to renovate the building would be at a minimum between $5-$6 million.
- Each year the building remains vacant it costs the taxpayers approximately $100,000 in annual insurance, maintenance, security, and other miscellaneous costs.
- Each year the building remains vacant, the district loses potential tax revenue which is estimated at approximately $500,000.
- Keeping a vacant building will lead to its increased deterioration and result in additional unnecessary expense and potential liability to the district.
In October 2011, the district contracted with the real estate firm of Greiner-Maltz to market the building and land. Greiner-Maltz marketed the building and land to approximately 1,500 potential suitors who had the credentials to buy the building and land and/or lease it. Of the 1,500 potential suitors, BK at Seaford, LLC, the owners who are principals of the Engel-Burman Group, presented an offer to the Board of Education. After negotiations over several months, the Board of Education accepted their final offer to sell the building and land for a price of approximately $5 million. This sale is conditioned upon two items.
- The approval by the voters of the Seaford School District.
- That BK at Seaford, LLC, obtains the necessary zoning approvals from the Town of Hempstead to build 100 to 113 condominiums.
After we initially planned an October 2012 vote on this proposition, we heard some concerns from the public and had a final revision made to the contract which now specifies that sales will be restricted to buyers age 55 years or older without children. It also includes language that these will be owner-occupied units only.
The revenues from the sale of the building and land, and the future property tax revenues from the new residences will have a positive financial impact on the school district.
As information becomes available, we will post it to the district’s website: www.seaford.k12.ny.us
On Wednesday, December 12, 2012 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. the registered voters of the school district will be asked to vote on this proposition concerning the sale of the Seaford Avenue School building and property.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter.
- Seaford Board of Education:
Brian W. Fagan
Richard G. DiBlasio
Bruce A. Kahn
Superintendent of Schools:
Brian L. Conboy