Roslyn school board confronts village about proposed rental property

Roslyn school board confronts village about proposed rental property
Roslyn Board of Education President Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy speaks before the Roslyn Board of Trustees. (Photo by Teri West)

The Roslyn Board of Education spoke before the Village of Roslyn Board of Trustees Tuesday night, adamant that it block a proposed apartment complex near the Roslyn Long Island Rail Road Station.

“We know from other projects that have been developed, the number of school children that can potentially be generated in multiple dwelling of that size can be potentially very adversely impactful to our schools,” said Board of Education President Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy.

This was not the first time the school board raised concerns, but since an application has not yet been filed with the village, the board cannot yet do anything about it, village Attorney John Gibbons said.

Jerry Karlik of JK Equities, a Roslyn-based real estate firm, proposed the project to the village in 2017. It would be a mixed-used development where there is currently a strip of stores and would include three floors of about 60 rental apartments above a floor of retail.

No one from JK Equities was present at the meeting, and a company official was not immediately available for comment.

The Roslyn school district is designed to support a community of homeowners, Ben-Levy said, and rentals would be “devastating to our schools.” Class sizes would explode and tax revenue would not increase enough to support them, she said.

“We’re trying to tell you early on that this not how we’re structured,” Ben-Levy said. “We’re functioning at capacity now.”

Ben-Levy was joined at the meeting by the school board’s vice president, a trustee and the superindentent.

Village Trustee Sarah Oral said the village will handle the issue when an application is submitted.

“Just as you have the right to have your comments heard, the applicant has the right to move this application forward,” Oral said.

The current size of the student population, which is more than 3,300 and down from 4,500, allows the school district to keep special education students in the district rather than sending them to neighboring ones, said Superintendent Allison Brown. It also allows for rooms dedicated to special programming, such as STEAM classes, she said.

“The classrooms and the physical space, we need it because our programs have grown and we keep our kids home,” Brown said.

An earlier version of this story said the current student population is about 3,000. Saying more than 3,300 is more precise and accurate.

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