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Nyack Schools Turf War: An Artificial Argument

Old Nyack High School (Rockland BOCES). Credit: ©2012 Alison Perry. 201206by Florette Kupfer

I attended the Nyack String & Band Camp concert at the Nyack High School on Friday. It was an inspiring event, the culmination of a two week summer program where children learned to create music. Yesterday they showed their accomplishments on the stage — and they were terrific!

It was an event that also led me to think of the dedication of our district’s faculty and administrators. Thankfully it was not a terribly warm day as there is no air conditioning in the auditorium. Meanwhile, the lighting equipment was starting to flicker and during the performance, the lights even went completely out a few times. We were told by one of the speakers that if the proposed school bond passes money will be allocated for air conditioning to upgrade the auditorium and the cafeteria. This is wonderful news. Our children and faculty deserve to perform in a room that won’t make them sweat!

But what I find disturbing is that this same bond calls for installing artificial turf on the high school field. So what am I to do? I support upgrading the building with air conditioning but not installing artificial turf. Yes, I heard that the “new” turf is “healthier.” But there are several issues which concern me – among them,

  • Will this “better” turf still let out toxic vapors when overheated?
  • Will my children still get turf burns?
  • Will the new turf still leach harmful chemicals into our ground water?

How can I vote yes for the bond? Is it all or nothing? The turf should be considered separately from the other parts of the Bond. Since Nyack voted down a similar plan a few years ago, it should be considered as a separate issue. In how many years will we find out that this “safer” turf still causes cancer, threatens our water, and contributes to climate change?  If instead we invested this same amount of money into math for example, perhaps we wouldn’t have only 2.9% of 7th graders in our district performing at the highest of the 4 state testing levels.

I ask the Nyack School Board to please reconsider and take the turf out of the mix of what we are being asked to consider.

Florette Kupfer is a parent in the Nyack School district.

 Photo Credit: ©2012 Alison Perry

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