Pearl River Superintendent Dr. John Morgano did not speak during the Orangetown public meeting Feb. 26 regarding the redevelopment of the Rockland Psychiatric Center property.
He had already spoken with town officials regarding the district's concerns that new housing built within the property could create a heavy burden for the district.
"That is a lot of land over there," Morgano said at Tuesday's school board meeting. "One concern we have as a school district is there could be a lot of development with a large influx of students. That would have the effect of increasing property taxes for everybody in the district.
"We expressed our interests to the Supervisor (Andy Stewart), who we met with personally."
Morgano estimated that the district could absorb another 70 students spread among all grade levels.
"If you are here tonight, you know we are cutting (staff), not adding. The reality is we can't absorb a large numbe of students all at once," Morgano said. "We would like to see light industrial (development), senior housing. Income-producing and tax-producing properties without a lot of students."
Morgano thanked Pearl River resident Michael Mandel, a regular at both school board and town council meetings, for speaking up for the district at the Feb. 26 Orangetown meeting. During that discussion, Mandel said that anything that forced an increase in school taxes would also hurt commercial interests in Pearl
Councilman Tom Morr dealt with similar issues while on the Nanuet Board of Education.
"Very important also is the impact on the Pearl River School District. You can't overwhelm the district," Morr said at the Orangetown meeting. "I was on the Nanuet Board of Ed just after a whole bunch of development was done in the northern part of Nanuet. It caused us to open a fourth building and it was difficult. We have to be very careful not to put that burden on the school district."