Gedney and North Street Associations Stage NY Presbyterian Hospital Forum Wednes

WPCNR Friday Getaway Gazette. Special to WPCNR. April 12, 2002, 9:30 PM EDT: The Gedney and North Street Civic Associations will host the public Wednesday evening, April 17 at Ridgeway School, for an advocacy and question and answer Forum on the New York Presbyterian Hospital plan before the Common Council to bring biotech labs and a proton beam accelerator cancer treat center to the White Plains campus.
The forum will present three points of view: Michael Graessle, former Commissioner of the Department of Planning, will speak on zoning and special permit issues, Thomas Whyatt, attorney, will speak for the Concerned Citizens for Open Space contingency on eminent domain among other topics, and Tim Sheehan, will speak on the hospital position in the matter. The New York Presbyterian Hospital declined to send a representative to the forum.

Sources promoting the forum say the public is not well-informed about the hospital plans, and hope many will come out to learn more about the project so they may take a position on the issue.

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The Quo Warranto Waltz:Delgado Warriors Work to Set up Spitzer Play

WPCNER Friday Getaway Gazette. By John F. Bailey. April 12, 2002, 9 PM EDT: Jeffrey Binder, of White Plains, an attorney for Larry Delgado, former White Plains City Councilman, whose plea for the New York State Courts to provide a remedy for the effects of a jammed voting machine in District 18 in the fall city election, (denied by the Court of Appeals, March 14), indicated to WPCNR that we should “stay tuned,” that the election dispute was not being dropped.

Binder stopped short of telling WPCNR that Mr. Delgado has decided to “go quo,” and ask Elliot Spitzer, New York State Attorney General to intervene and remove Mr. Hockley from his council seat as a “usurper,” not entitled to the office.

The attorney told WPCNR that there are a number of legal steps that have to be executed carefully to bring a quo warranto action to the Attorney General’s office. He said those steps are being prepared at this time. To date, Mr. Delgado has not confirmed or denied that he is going to take the course of quo warranto. However, his attorney said this week that those steps to prepare a quo warranto are in the works. He declined to elaborate what those steps were.

In discussion of the quo warranto procedure, Binder has said in the past that the Attorney General has to be approached by an office seeker, who must demonstrate to the attorney general, that an office holder is holding an elected position as a “usurper,” that he or she is not entitled to it.

On the White Plains Week television show, March 15, Adam Bradley, Glen Hockley’s attorney who fought the Delgado special election decision to a Court of Appeals reversal, said the Attorney General at this point must decide whether to bring a suit to remove the usurper (in this case, allegedly Mr. Hockley), and show cause. A trial takes place in Supreme Court with the Attorney General’s office representing the allegedly-wronged office-seeker’s interest. The result of that trial can be appealed to Appellate Court, and to the Court of Appeals.

Mr. Binder’s remarks to WPCNR this week raise the prospect that the Hockley-Delgado matter might work its way up through to the Court of Appeals once more.

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2/3 of 4th Graders Pass 2001 State Tests; Exceed Comparable Districts

WPCNR Afternoon Tribune. By John F. Bailey, April 10, 2002. 4 PM EDT: White Plains Schools State Assessment results from 2001 were given perspective by the School District Research, Testing and Evaluation Administrator, Lawrence Killian, and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, JoAnna Maccario Monday at the Board of Education regular meeting before about fifty persons.
White Plains 4th grade students are scoring higher than students in school districts comparable to White Plains in income, population and ethnic mix.
African-American and Hispanic children lag substantially behind their white and Asian contemporaries. However, progress is being made on assessment performance.

HOW ARE WE DOING? Research, Testing and Evaluation Administrator, Lawrence Killian addresses the Board of Education Monday evening, delivering the City School District “Assessment of the Assessments.”Photo by WPCNR

In the first public comment on the test scores released by the state two weeks ago, the district’s testing and curriculum tag team dissected the results in a series of revealing comparison graphs for the 4th grade, 8th grade and high school performances.

Dr. Saul Yanofsky, Superintendent of Schools, prefaced the Killian-Maccario presentation, cautioning that the test results are looked at by his administrators as a means of identifying areas of performance the district needs to improve upon, then turned over the floor to Mr. Killian.

Understanding the “Comparison to Similar Schools” Analogy

Killian’s first charts drew comparisons between White Plains and those school districts the state considers “comparable” to White Plains.

Killian said the city’s elementary schools are measured against 208 “similar schools” across the state, 22 of them in Westchester County. Killian named Elmsford, Greenburgh, New Rochelle, Ossining, Port Chester and Tarrytown as the “similar schools” within the County.

The Middle School test results are looked at by the state in comparison with 53 other middle schools, which include schools in three Westchester districts: New Rochelle, Ossining and Port Chester.

White Plains High School is matched up to 62 other schools, including Elmsford, Greenburgh, New Rochelle, Ossining, Port Chester, and Tarrytown.

City Resources/Ethnic Mix Considered

Killian remarked that the “similar schools” match White Plains in terms of resources. The School Report Cards Highlights and Summary Report (obtainable at the Board of Education Offices, 5 Homeside Lane, 422-2000) distributed at Monday evening’s meeting, describes the state analysis of White Plains.

According to this report, the state considers White Plains “to have only average resources, relative to our students’ needs,” and “the needs of our students are considered to be high, relative to the other districts in the average resource category.”

Levels 1,2,3,4 Grading Parameters

WPCNR accessed the NYS Education Department School Report Cards site to clarify what Levels 1,2,3,4 mean. According to the “Understanding Your School Report Card” section, Level 4 means “Meeting the Standards with Distinction,” and a student scoring from 85 to 100 is classified as having exceeded the standard.

Level 3 is defined as “Meeting the Standards,” and to do so, a student has to achieve a final score of 65 to 84 on the Assessment tests.

Level 2 is classified as “Not Fully Meeting the Standards,” and students scoring from 58 to 64 are classified in that category.

Level 1 is defined as “Not Meeting the Standards” and students scoring 0 to 57 are placed in that category.

4th Grade Scores on Steady Upward Trend

Killian, using a series of overhead projection slides, showed the overflow crowd the percentage of children passing the State Standards, Levels 3 and 4, and the percentage of children exceeding the standard Level 4. The results showed an upswing in student performance at the elementary level (4th grade) where 66% of the students passed the English Language Arts standard, with 21% of those students exceeding the Level 4 standard.

MOVING THE ELA BAR: This copy of the City School District Elementary 4th Grade ELA Assessment Chart, showing the cumulative score of all 475 4th graders tested, downloaded from the NYS Education Department website, shows the 1999 results in yellow, the 2000 results in blue and the 2001 results in orange. The 3-bar columns represent, left to right, the percentages scoring in Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4, respectively. Note how White Plains in three years has steadily raised the performance of their fourth grades in the Levels 3 and Level 4 columns over three years. The chart on the right side shows the comparison with all of New York State. In every case, White Plains is higher compared to “similar schools.”For a closer look at this chart, please go the the New York State Department of Education website. Photo by WPCNR.

About 100 students per elementary school.

We are dealing with small numbers here, making percentages appear large when actually they involve a handful of students. But, that does not diminish their impact. For example, the number of students taking the Assessments in ELA in the city’s five elementary schools in 2001 were: 83 (Church Street School), 118 (George Washington), 101 (Mamaroneck Avenue School), 81 (Post Road School), and 87 (Ridgeway). Totals of students for the same five schools, were slightly different in the Mathematics assessment, 90, 121, 116, 87, and 98, respectively

Steady upward trend

Killian said that over three years, the number of 4th grade students meeting the Level 3 and 4 standards has gone up from 53% in 1999 to 66% in 2001.

In Mathematics, 4th graders did better, 74% achieving the State Standard, with 32% of those beating the Student Level 4. Over three years, Killian said this figure of those passing the standard has remained steady, 74% up from 72%.

CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT 4TH GRADE CUMULATIVE MATH STANDING: Here is the NYS Education Department graph showing Math progress from 1999 to 2001. The White Plains results are on the left half, the state similar scores are on the right. Again, the groups of three bars represent 1999 results in yellow, 2000 results in blue, 2001 in orange. The Levels are, left to right, Level 1, 2,3,4. White Plains, in math, is moving more 4th graders into the Level 3 and 4 zones. Photo by WPCNR.

(To view the results in terms of numbers, and year-to-year progress, click on our “White Plains Links” headline on the upper left of this page, Click on “Schools,” when the links page comes up, and from the “Schools” Section CLICK ON the “School Report Cards” site of the Department of Education.)

Lower level scorers have not diminished.

The White Plains report distributed Monday evening, identifies a steady percentage of children (less than 5%) taking the assessments in each of the last three years of 4th grades in the district remaining at the lowest level in both the ELA and Math categories. The District report describes this group thusly: “There has not been an decrease in the percent of students scoring in the lowest level,” but does not mention a percentage.

In ELA and Math results, the numbers of students in Level 1 are very small, from 2% to under 10%, and ranging from as few as 2 to as many as 16 . Level 2 placers are higher.

District Wide, 35% Do Not Meet Elementary ELA Standards; 25% Do Not Meet Math Standard.

The New York State Education Department Composite Charts of the White Plains Elementary School ELA and Math Assessment scores, show 163 of 475 students taking the test, 35% did not meet the standards in ELA and 134 of 517 students taking the Math, 26% did not meet the State Standards. However, the district is outpacing the similar schools scores where 40% did not pass the ELA standards, and 31% did not pass the Math standard.

According to District figures these students are mainly of African-American and Hispanic ethnicities.

Ebb and Flow of Elementary School Scores

In the 4th Grade English Language Arts test, three White Plains’ Elementary Schools: Church Street (72% to 65%), Mamaroneck Avenue School (74% to 65%), and Ridgeway (67% to 65%) scored higher than the similar schools of Elmsford, Greenburgh, New Rochelle, Ossining, Port Chester and Tarrytown.

Two did not. George Washington (58% to 65%) and Post Road (62% to 65%) finished slightly behind the state “similar schools” score.

On the Mathematics 4th Grade 2001 Assessment, two city schools, Church Street and Post Road, finished slightly higher than the average of the “similar schools.” Post Road School and Church Street School 4th graders had identical 79% passing to the state similar school percentage of 76%, with 41% CSS-ers beating the Level 4 standard.

Three schools were slightly lower than their similar school percentage of 76%. George Washington School and Mamaroneck Avenue School each had 73% of their 4th graders passing with 30% and 32% respectively exceeding Level 4 standards.

As to students scoring on the lowest level, the Report released Monday by the School District, again states, on the Mathematics lower level, and “There has not been a decrease in the number of students scoring in the lowest level.”

Killian comments:

In general remarks, Mr. Killian said, “We are concerned about the kids in the lowest levels. We are going to look at the children’s work (now) and see what we can do better.”

He noted that math scores on the 4th grade level were higher than the ELA levels, and pointed out that when White Plains first took the tests in 1999, the White Plains students were ahead of statewide similar districts, 53% to 45% compared to Westchester counterparts, and 53% to 50%, pointing out that on the basis of the 2001 scores, the district continues to keep pace and maintain improvement.

Mr. Killian observed that the 4th grade and 8th grade tests change each year, and actually become more “difficult,” depending on what the State Education Department is looking to measure. He said “The state is doing a good thing by giving a new test every year. The tests become more difficult each year.”

Ethnic Chill: Half of White Plains 4th grade Blacks and Hispanics Pass ELA, 66% Pass the Math.
The test data on ethnic scores indicated, in Mr. Killian’s words, “a substantial gap between White and Asian, Black and Hispanic categories, that are similar in Math, too. There are those categories of students doing relatively well and not doing well that must be the focus of our efforts.”

This was the first public admission and quantifying provided by the School District that a “Minority Achievement Gap” is there in White Plains. The figures Mr. Killian showed provided a look at the 4th Grade Minority Achievement Gap for all to see.

White Plains White students at the 4th grade level are passing on a level of 81% compared to 74% of white students passing in “statewide similar districts.”

Black students in the 2001 4th grade were passing the ELA exam at the rate of 51%, compared to 39% of Blacks passing in the similar districts statewide. A total of 55% of the city Hispanic youngsters passed the ELA. Both White Plains ethnic groups surpassed the state average. Statewide, in similar districts to White Plains, 39% of Blacks passed, and 40% of Hispanics passed.

Turning to math, improvement, but sobering.

In the 4th Grade Math Assessment, White Plains Blacks and Hispanics performed ahead of their ELA scores, with 59% of African-Americans passing, and 67% of our Hispanic youngsters passing. Compare this to the statewide similar district scores of 46% and 49% respectively, and you have to feel the White Plains Elementary Curriculum, substantially revamped to address the influx of Hispanic youngsters and underachievers in the last three years, appears to be having an effect.

Ethnic Scores by School a sticking point

Mr. Killian’s charts on 4th Grade individual Elementary Schools highlighted definite differences between the elementary school scores.

Church Street School had 74% (highest Black performance) of Blacks passing, and 67% of Hispanics passing. In contrast, George Washington School passed 54% of their Blacks and 71% of their Hispanics. Mamaroneck Avenue School’s Blacks passed at a 59% rate, Hispanics, 64%. Ridgeway had 50% of Blacks surpassing Level 3, and 58% of their Hispanics. Post Road’s Black children passed at a 64% rate, the Hispanics at a 74% rate (top Hispanic passing rate among the five schools).

English Language Arts Scores Not as Strong.

All five elementary schools failed to have more than 58% of their Black population pass the English Language Arts. Keep in mind though that the state average is 51%.

Church Street School and Mamaroneck Avenue School each had 58% of their Blacks pass. Post Road saw 57% pass, and Ridgeway, 53%. George Washington School saw 36% of their Black student population pass.

Hispanic Population scores higher on ELA than the African-American Population.

There is a wild swing in Hispanic scores among the five schools. Church Street School passed 79% of their Hispanic 4th graders; Mamaroneck Avenue School, 70%, and Ridgeway School, 52%. Post Road School passed 32%. George Washington School passed 44% of Hispanics, below the state similar district average of 55%.

The Hispanic 4th graders as a group passed at a higher rate than the African-American 4th graders, 55% to 51% on the ELA, which is statistically insignificant and 67% to 59% on the math assessment.

Asian students in White Plains score the highest with 93% of Asian 4th graders passing the ELA Assessment in 2001, and 100% passing the Math assessment.

This is the first part of a series on the Assessment Report given Monday evening. Look for the next installment tomorrow.

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3oth Anniversary Celebration



The WJCS Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP), formerly called the Mother-Child Home Program, is searching for participants dating back to 1972 to help celebrate its 30th anniversary in June.

Over the past 30 years, more than 2,400 families in Greenburgh, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Port Chester and White Plains have participated in the program which promotes the joy of learning.

An award winning program sponsored by Westchester Jewish Community Services, PCHP is an early childhood, parent education and family literacy program designed to prevent school problems for disadvantaged preschoolers and encourages self-esteem and child rearing competence in their parents. During half-hour, twice-weekly visits, trained home visitors use specially selected toys and books to provide cognitive enrichment through verbal interaction and special game play.

“Although we have a good database of program graduates, we have lost touch with many who may have moved or changed their telephone number.” says Patrice Cuddy, Program Director “We would love to reconnect with our former mother and toddler participants. If you remember those twice weekly home visits by a friendly lady who brought you books and toys, or if reading Pat the Bunny or playing with farm animals brings back happy memories, give us a call and tell us how you’re doing.”

Alumni of the Program are urged to contact Mrs. Cuddy at 949-7699, ext. 324.

A celebration recognizing the significant impact the Parent-Child Home Program has had on the community over the past three decades will take place at Westchester Jewish Community Services’ Annual Meeting on June 4 at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale. All present and past Program participants will be invited to attend.

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Board Interviews Superintendent Final 3 In Next Week. Sules Runs.

WPCNR Midnight Extra. April 9, 2002, 12:30 AM EDT: Donna McLaughlin, President of the White Plains Board of Education, reported to WPCNR Monday evening that the final three candidates for the position of Superintendent of Schools will be interviewed by the Board of Education within the next seven days.

In other Board of Education news, Stephen Sules told WPCNR Monday he will definitely seek reelection to his seat on the Board of Education in May. Lawrence Geiger, whose term is also expiring, was not present at Monday evening’s board meeting and he has not declared his candidacy.

One of Mr. Sule’s new opponents, Maria Valentin, of Battle Hill, was in attendance at the Board of Education meeting last night, while his other opponent, Robert Tuck was not.

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King Komments: No Give on Shuttle Buses to the Train

King Komments:By White Plains Councilman, William King, April 8, 2002, 4 PM EDT: The councilman has been pursuing shuttle bus service to the White Plains Transit Center. Here is his report on where the County stands.
I met with County DOT Commissioner Larry Salley this morning in his office in Mt. Vernon along with County Director of Surface Transportation Richard Stiller. We had a pleasant meeting but it was basically left that the County cannot afford to tweak its tightly scheduled office park loop shuttlebus service to allow any kind of pickups or dropoffs of city residents in residential neighborhoods such as the Highlands/Soundview along the way.

They explained to me that a bus returning from delivering office workers from the train station to their offices along Westchester Ave. and elsewhere has a limited amount of time to get back to the station in time for its next run. A shuttle bus running on the “A” loop route might come back to the White Plains Train Station and then go back out on a “C” route run and then come back and go back out on an “H” route run, etc.. The County tries to have as many different office loop runs in the 4-hour a.m. and p.m. peak periods as possible, meeting the maximum number of arriving trains.

Most of the drivers work 8-hour shifts split into two 4-hour stints, one for the a.m, one for the p.m. and are off during the middle of the day. The most senior drivers get to work any overtime which the County tries to limit to contain costs.

The service is expensive. The County recoups less than 20 cents on the dollar for every dollar received in fares, compared to nearly 50 cents on the dollar for the entire system. The 50-cent figure is quite high by national standards for suburban bus systems.

Despite countywide budget pressures, County Executive Spano intends to keep the office bus service running indefinitely, although limited federal “CMAQ” (Congestion Mitigation Air Quality) 3-year funding of 1 or 2 routes is ending soon and one of the routes may not be continued. According to Larry, there is no more CMAQ funding out there for additional shuttle buses such as a bus specifically targeting residential neighborhoods. I was told that any CMAQ funding usually comes with a 3-year time limit after which the costs have to be picked up by local funding sources.

Larry and Rich feel they would have to add another driver to be able to provide residential train station service in White Plains. The cost of this would be $170,000 a year which includes the salary and benefits of the driver, fuel and maintenance of the bus, and overhead expenses for both the bus company that the County contracts with and the County itself. This cost does not include the cost of the bus itself or any amortization of the cost of a bus.

They indicated that in the past they have leased used shuttle buses to towns like New Castle (Chappaqua) for $1 a year and the municipality paid all the operating costs. They also mentioned that they are going to be replacing their fleet of 20-foot long shuttle buses (which are actually built on van chassis’s) with new 30-foot long buses later this year. (The standard length of a regular, non-articulated bus is 40 feet long.) The 30-foot long buses with more seats will be similar to what rental car agencies use at airports. This way, the County hopes to provide the same number of seat miles with less drivers.

I asked about the City of White Plains possibly leasing one of the used 20-foot long shuttlebuses for a $1 a year. They said we might be able to but these would be at least 5 years old and the federal gov’t guidelines are that buses like this (converted vans) really are only supposed to last 4 years. Therefore, they might not last that long or would be more expensive and problematic to maintain. They say they take a beating.

Maybe the bodies of these shuttle buses could be reused if a whole new engine, transmission and underbody was used. I don’t know if this would save the City any money but, if anybody would know, Bud Nicoletti would.

So, I wasn’t too hopeful that going down to Mt. Vernon (35 minutes on the #40 bus) would yield positive results but, since the meeting was offered, through Larry Schwartz, I figured I better take advantage of the opportunity of meeting with the Commissioner and Richard Stiller with whom I have talked to over the phone and exchanged several emails over the years.

The only thing that I mentioned that possibly might be looked at further after I left is whether some buses could be routed on Bryant Ave. to/from Westchester Ave. (along with South Lex and Longview Ave./Martin Luther King Blvd.) as at least a quick passthrough through the Highlands that at least some residents might be able to take advantage of, without slowing the shuttlebuses down much. I’ll bring this up again with the County if I don’t hear anything back from them on this.

I said, with all the congestion on Westchester Ave. and in Downtown WP, the shuttlebuses may be able to get to/from the Westchester office parks faster and so having some kind of limited residential service wouldn’t slow them down much.

Such a bus would provide a service to the central and northeast Highlands as well as to Bryant Crescent, the Dales, the townhouse development at Bryant and North Street and down North St. to Havillands Manor if people want to walk up to Bryant to catch a shuttlebus.

I definitely did not get any agreement with possibly some shuttlebuses coming back from IBM or the Rennaisance Hotel area via the Hutch, North St. and Rosedale or Ridgeway.

– BK

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Free Bereavement Counseling to 9/11 Widows, Widowers, Children

WPCNR Community Bulletin: Bereavement Support Groups for 9/11 widows and widowers and their children, ages three and up, are being offered free by Westchester Jewish Community Services. The two groups – the one for parents and the one for children — run concurrently on Wednesdays from 1:30-2:45 at 701 Westchester Avenue in White Plains. The groups are led by social workers specially trained in bereavement counseling.

For additional information about these programs or to register, call Elisabeth Gilbert at 949-7699, ext. 546 or Karen Dreher 949-7699, ext.313.
The WJCS also sponsors a series of other specialized need support groups at houses of worship in White Plains covering a series of critical concerns. The following is a description of the groups some which are getting underway this week:

With funding from UJA Federation, Westchester Jewish Community Services has begun offering support and counseling programs at several houses of worship in White Plains. These programs, which are free and open to all members of the community, include:

A support group for those trying to cope with the loss of a loved one.
Wednesdays – 12:30 – 1:30 PM

Contact: Lilly Singer, CC, at 949-7699, X 366.

Wednesdays – 7:30 – 9:00 PM
Contact: Karen Dreher, CSW, at 946-8851, X316 or 949-7699, X313.
*Starting Wednesday, April 10. Six sessions. Pre-registration required.


Need quick assistance or information? Schedule a 15-minute consultation with Karen Dreher, CSW, at 946-8851, X316 or 949-7699, X313.
Leave your name, phone number and the best time for a call back.


For primary caregivers of individuals who require constant care.

Tuesdays – 7:30 – 9:00 PM

Contact: Lilly Singer, CC, at 949-7699, X366.
*Starting Tuesday, April 9. Six sessions. Pre-registration required.


Thursdays – 10:30 – 11:30 AM
Contact: Lilly Singer, CC, at 949-7699, X366

*This group DOES NOT meet the first Thursday of each month.


Contact: Karen Dreher, CSW, at 946-8851, X316 or 949-7699, X313.

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Private Day Treatments Seek First Medicaid Rate Increase in 20 Years from Assemb

WPCNR Sunday Eagle. Special from Clear View School April 7, 2002. 2:00 PM EDT: Private Day Treatment Centers, the backbone of New York State programs for the mentally disabled are calling on citizens to write their assembly persons, urging they support passage of the first Medicaid increase in the amount paid to Day Treatment Programs in 20 years.
According to a Clear View School communication, the Senate in Albany supports such an increase, a $1.8 million appropriation, which when “leveraged” by local and federal matching funds, will grow to $7,200,000. Clear View, located in Scarborough, New York, has educated numerous disabled youth from White Plains and surrounding towns in Westchester County for 34 years.

The school is urging advocates for the disabled to write their assemblypersons, requesting they support this modest increase.

According to the school that has been in the forefront of persuading legislators to support educational and residential programs for the disabled, the Medicaid rate for children’s Day Treatment Programs has not been increased for over twenty years.

The school also feels that private programs should be supported on a scale more equal to what the state day treatment programs receive. Presently, according to Clear View, state-run agencies now receive twice the daily rate of the voluntary agencies ($100 a day vs. $47).

Clear View in its call for support for the increase in the Medicaid Rate, maintains that children’s Day Treatment Programs are “the first line of engagement” with children suffering from mental illness and “our best resource for maintaining mentally ill children in the community.”

The school also points out that current funding levels from the state, and what the school calls “an absence over the years of any cost of living adjustments (COLAS)…have made it extremely difficult to maintain qualified staff and ultimately threaten program survival.”

The organization in a statement said that low salaries are being additionally threatened by “enormous increases in the cost of medical insurance.” (The White Plains City School District had a similar problem in this year’s school budget where rising medical insurance costs and retirements combined to raise the cost of fringe benefits 15.5%.)

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Police,City Reach Agreement on New Contract Through 2004

WPCNR FRIDAY GETAWAY GAZETTE, Special from City Hall April 5,2002, 6 PM EST: The White Plains Police and the City of White Plains have come to a tentative agreement on a new three year contract, calling for raises of 3.75%, 3.75% and 4% in 2002,2003, and 2004, respectively. George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer said it was “the first time in memory that the city had reached an agreement with the police before expiration of a current contract.”
City Hall’s official announcement stated, “The City and Police Benevolent Association are pleased and delighted to announce that the parties have reached a tentative agreement on a new labor contract.

Three Year Pact

“The parties have agreed to raises of 3.75% for 2002, 3.75% for 2003 and 4% for 2004. In addition, the agreement provides other improvements to fringe benefits, including:

* An increase in the supervisor differential.
* An increase in the detective differential.
* Stipends for certain officers with specialties such as being bilingual, in return for a reduction in call back pay.
* Increases in longevity pay.
* A new night differential for members working certain shifts.
* Increases in the Welfare Fund.
* An increase in the uniform allowance.
* A new benefit allowing members to sell unused vacation days back to the Department, thereby making more work days available to the Department.
* A new sick leave bonus to encourage better attendance.

Contract Awaits Union Approval

The Mayor’s Office Official Statement reports, “the tentative settlement must be ratified by the PBA membership and the Common Council. Both Mayor Delfino and PBA President James Carrier are confident that the agreement will be approved.

Mayor pleased.

The statement said, “Mayor Delfino expressed pleasure that an agreement had been timely concluded. Mayor Delfino also praised the sincere and dedicated efforts of all parties to work to achieve a new contract before the existing contract expired for the first time in recent memory.

Three and Out

George Gretsas, the Mayor’s Executive Officer, in advising WPCNR of the agreement said, “It was especially satisfying that the cooperative effort enabled both parties to reach this settlement after only three bargaining sessions. ”
Agreement was concluded in the final negotiating session Thursday evening.

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BID’s Kathleen Gunn Looks to BID to Adjust to changing downtown.

WPCNR MORNING SUN By John F. Bailey. UPDATED April 4, 2002. 10:30 AM EST: The Downtown Business Improvement District Wednesday appointed Kathleen Gunn, currently with the Mayor’s Office, to the recently vacated post of Executive Director. Ms. Gunn has been credited with spearheading the Mayor’s Digital Divide initiative, and prior to this was experienced in the writing of grants, and a community liaison officer for Congresswoman Nita Lowey. Ms. Gunn begins her new job April 22.

THE BID’S NEW GUNN: Kathleen Gunn, newly appointed Executive Director.
File Photo by WPCNR

Applied on her Own.

Ms. Gunn, speaking to WPCNR Thursday morning said she decided to apply for the Executive Director position on her own because she felt her credentials were a good fit. She cited her experience in the Mayor’s economic development office, her liaison work with Congresswoman Lowey, and her experience in seeking government grants.

Asked what she felt she would bring to the BID and what direction she might take, she said she would be meeting with the BID Board, the Common Council, the Mayor’s office and other interested parties after she begins work April 22 to define that direction.

BID Role Must Fit the Changing City

“The City of White Plains is changing. It is changing into a very different downtown with different needs,” Ms. Gunn said. “You’re going to have many new residents in the downtown with different needs. I’m looking forward to helping the BID evolve to meet those needs.”

Gunn said she hoped to bring her experience in acquiring grants for the SelfHelp Community Services to play in her new job. She planned no increase in staff.

Vogt confident in Gunn’s Familiarity with Economic Development

Harold Vogt told WPCNR this morning that Ms. Gunn was selected based on “her own skills, competence and her past involvement in programs of interest to the BID. All bode well,” he said. “She will be an integral part of policy development, as we move ahead.”

Voght said that he looked forward to Gunn improving BID’s communications and profile.

In the official news release announcing Gunn’s appointment, Voght said, “I am delighted that Kathleen Gunn will be the new Executive Director of the BID, and I am confident that she will bring much to the successful operation of the BID as it plays a key role in the downtown. Gunn said, “I am very honored to have been selected by the Board of Directors and look forward to working with the community on the continuing effort to revitalize downtown White Plains.”

Gunn was unanimously voted to the position by the BID’s Board of Directors. Vogt, in the official release, thanked the Search Committee which was chaired by WP Board Director, Ted Peluso, with BID Board Members, Jeff Stillman, Hal Masback, John Martin, Mark Ellman and Leon Silverman participating.

The Gunn Resume

Gunn has a Masters Degree in Public Administration/Non-Profit Management, and a Bachelors Degree in Political Schience from Pace University. She was Grant Manager at SelfHelp Community Services, responsible for securing funding for that organization’s programs and services. She was a District Representative for Congresswoman Nita Lowey, handling constitutent cases for the Congresswoman’s district office in White Plains.

Digital Divide Dynamo

Ms. Gunn in the last two years has organized, coordinated and brought together community interests to open three Digital Divide Labs in White Plains at Slater Center, the White Plains Youth Bureau and Mercy College to address the lack of computer access affecting underprivileged youth and adults. A fourth lab is being contemplated for a location at Centro Hispano.

Gunn has a businesslike way of getting things done with a very pleasant attitude, and she focuses on the long term objective, putting aside personal ego and preconceived notions to achieve tangible results.

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