The Board of Education must Provide a Comprehensive Breakdown of the Project to Parents that Highlight Effects on Student Learning Prior to Voting

Kingston NY– Parents with the Citizen Action Education Justice Committee, and Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson are calling on the Ulster County Legislature to vote No on the proposed Kingstonian Development PILOT Project that is estimated to give an 87 percent property tax break. The Ulster County Legislature vote is set to take place November 17.

Parents are also demanding the Board of Education provide a comprehensive breakdown of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) tax relief being offered to the developers of the Kingstonian over 25 years. It is estimated in this time the City of Kingston will lose $18 million in revenue that could be used to fund districts.

“The legislature should at a minimum postpone any vote or decision until all parents know the potential devastating effects of lost revenue for our schools,” said Fanon Fraizer, Community Organizer with Citizen Action. “Every year we go up to Albany and demand full and equitable funding for our schools, this year, it’s going to be even harder. We need to tax the rich, not give them tax breaks for the next generation that further undercut our ability to educate students that are behind and suffering under this pandemic.” 

Parents believe the overriding concerns of the Covid-19 pandemic have understandably taken center stage of many lives, leaving many parents and guardians unaware of the project. Due to the complexity of the PILOT structure, many parents who are aware of the proposal might not understand the implications this proposal will have on education. The demand to vote no on the PILOT follows a push by parents to move the Board of Education PILOT vote that was originally supposed to take place November 4. 

“We believe the members of the Board of Education should widely distribute balanced information about the proposed Kingstonian PILOT project in language that is clear and concise and available in both English and Spanish,” said members of The Citizen Action Education Committee in an email sent to the Board of Education. “We’d like to suggest that Kingston City School District share that information via the district web site as well as in a text blast so as to reach the greatest number of constituents.”

The PILOT structure will shortchange students’ education experience and disproportionately have an affect on Kingston’s Black, Brown and low income students. The Board of Education vote is set to take place Wednesday, November 18.