I was disappointed to read that the fact that Children’s Village staff housing residents cannot vote in school board elections is being viewed as racist. There are far too many actual racist actions to go looking where they don’t exist.
D’Assern Housing was built within the borders of the Greenburgh Eleven School District by Children’s Village in the 1970s. That was not a decision made by or influenced by the Village of Dobbs Ferry. I doubt anyone thought of the issue of disenfranchisement. They were just trying to build affordable housing, which, at that time, was open to any employee of a nonprofit. Unfortunately, the only entity that can change the district lines now (or then) is the State of New York, and only Greenburgh Eleven can request such a change. Greenburgh Eleven would have made this change years ago if it were doable for reasons I won’t go into here.
D’Assern Housing residents are not alone in this issue. Students who are in the affluent Pocantico Hills School District attend high school in Pleasantville, Sleepy Hollow, or Briarcliff. Like D’Assern residents, the parents cannot vote in elections where their students attend school even if they live in that village.
I sincerely hope that there is a way to resolve this issue so that all Dobbs Ferry parents have a say in the school their students attend. However, we need to understand that this is a legal issue, not one that was designed to disenfranchise anyone. We also need to ensure that any resolution not result in a loss of $600,000 to $800,000 in revenue per year to the Dobbs Ferry School District. That would be damaging to all our students.
Linda Stutz worked at Children’s Village for 23 years, and retired in 2019 as the vice president for advancement. The opinion expressed above was not written on behalf of CV.