Monroe, NY – Two months after a state supreme court justice approved a plan for the Village of Kiryas Joel to annex 164 adjacent acres, the Kiryas Joel School District has moved to have its own boundaries changed to mirror the village’s so that residents of the newly annexed land would also be served by the KJSD.
As previously reported on VIN News (http://bit.ly/2ibr3qY)Judge Gretchen Walsh rejected two challenges to the annexation plan in mid-October, paving the way for a Kiryas Joel expansion that would hopefully alleviate some of the housing crunch within the village. An appeal filed after the October judgment only addresses zoning changes in the 164 acre parcel and does not request a stay on the transfer of land to Kiryas Joel, explained KJSD superintendent Joel Petlin.
“As a practical matter, those parcels are now part of the Village of Kiryas Joel,” Petlin told VIN News.
Petlin said that extensive research by the KJSD on the proposed changes to its boundaries determined that it was in the best interests of students living in the annexation area to be incorporated into the KJSD.
The land in question is currently served by the Monroe Woodbury School District and in order for the change to take place it would have to be approved by both school districts.
Among those who served on the committee that studied the proposed change were several Kiryas Joel officials and school district members, representatives of the Town of Monroe and the Orange County of Office of Real Property Tax Services, the president of the Monroe-Woodbury school board and two Monroe-Woodbury assistant superintendents.
According to Petlin, the only children currently living in the annexed land attend school in Kiryas Joel. The MWSD provides those students with transportation to yeshivos in Kiryas Joel, with special needs students sent to schools in the KJSD. Should any students move into the area who prefer to attend the MWSD, Petlin said the necessary accommodations would be made.
Transferring the land to the KJSD is a logical move that would benefit all concerned, noted Petlin.
“People in Monroe-Woodbury have been claiming that growth in the Chasidic population will lead to a situation like the one in East Ramapo and they are concerned that because the Chasidic population doesn’t have kids in public schools and their needs are different, that they might want to cut programs,” said Petlin. “Each one of us best understands our communities and the services they need. Both communities would be best served by making this change.”
Petlin said that while members of the MWSD have worked closely with the KJSD on the resolution, he could not offer any thoughts on whether or not it would be approved. Should that take place by March 1st, the county deadline for tax collection for the 2017 – 2018 fiscal year, property owners in the annexed area would receive tax bills from the KJSD instead of the MWSD.