Voters approve building projects & A/C

Big improvements are ahead for River Vale Schools!

All the ballots in the April 20 special election have been counted, and voters have approved Question 1 and Question 2 in the school district’s bond referendum. Question 1 included the majority of proposed projects, including the replacement of roofing and HVAC equipment, an addition and Wellness Center at Holdrum Middle School, and classroom upgrades and extended canopies for all three schools. Question 2 will provide district-wide air conditioning, which has long been a priority for many parents and staff members.

Voters did not approve Question 3, which would have created Wellness Centers for the elementary schools.

How the results broke down:

Question 1: 814 votes in favor and 783 votes opposed

Question 2: 827 votes in favor and 766 votes opposed

Question 3: 732 votes in favor and 857 votes opposed

Our architects will begin work on detailed designs and on preparing contracts for bid for renovations and construction. The district will keep the community informed on the project timeline as work progresses.

It’s been a long journey to this important development for our schools. Even as we navigated the district through the pandemic, we focused on the long-range needs that would improve the school environment for students and staff.

On behalf of the staff and Board of Education of River Vale Public Schools, I thank you for voting and taking the time to learn about the bond referendum. I also appreciate the many volunteers who worked hard to share information about the proposal. We are looking forward to making upgrades that will benefit our students and staff.


Frank Alvarez, Ed.D.

WATCH: How bond proposal could improve River Vale schools & leverage state aid

Learn more about these Projects, the Cost Advantages, How to Vote, and other FAQs.

Ready to repair, renovate & renew

For many of us, this past year has vividly illustrated the importance of being prepared. But even before the pandemic, River Vale Public Schools began an extensive evaluation of the district’s needs. It began with a Physical Needs Study in June 2019, and ultimately led the Board of Education to propose the district's first bond referendum in 20 years. The April 20 vote involves improvements that would shape student experiences and address building needs for decades to come.

State aid would reduce the local cost of those improvements by nearly one-third. Additionally, the Board of Education will use funds in reserve, like a saving account, to reduce the impact.

The projects, which will be grouped into three questions on the ballot, would have a wide-ranging and tangible impact at each of the district’s three schools.

Learn more about the 3 ballot questions and what effect they would have on taxes.


A proposal to complete air conditioning throughout River Vale schools would improve the overall learning environment for students. Aside from enhancing students’ ability to focus on academics, climate control is essential for those who suffer from allergies and asthma. Since the start of the pandemic, the public has become educated on the important functions of air filtration and fresh air exchange.

River Vale’s school board already has made improvements in this area by purchasing specialized needlepoint bipolar ionization systems that work with existing HVAC equipment to help remove contaminants from the air.

New air conditioning installation will expand these efforts, as the ionization systems will be added to all new equipment.


The addition of Wellness Centers at the middle and elementary schools would help students manage stress and anxiety, which has only intensified with the pandemic. Students would have a chance to regroup, then return to class more focused. The centers also would provide dedicated space for wellness-related activities such as yoga.

The proposal to add outdoor instructional options recognizes that not all students learn the same way, while the wellness support underscores the reality that effective education is not possible without emotional health.

River Vale has already expanded programming in social and emotional learning; the proposed renovations will allow more space to help students.


The district has carefully maintained its buildings over the years. But the roofs at Holdrum and Woodside schools need complete replacement, as does a 2003 addition to Roberge School’s roof – that's a total of nearly 150,000 square feet of roofing. Worn classroom ceilings and floors also are ready for an upgrade.

The outdated “railway wing” layout of the Middle School creates jammed hallways that are a recipe for student conflict. By constructing an additional corridor, the district would open up dead-end hallways and finally allow for lockers outside of classrooms. Canopies at each school would assist people as they move about our buildings, with clearly marked main entrances, lighting for nighttime safety, and protection from the elements.

WATCH: Virtual Referendum Forum

Community members had the opportunity to ask questions about the bond referendum at an interactive virtual event on April 6.

Panelists included:

  • Architects

  • Financial Advisers

  • Teachers and Principals

  • School counseling team members

RV Virtual Forum April 6 2021.mp4
River Vale Slideshow v7.pdf

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Thank you for learning more about our Strong Schools - Strong Community proposal, and for making the time to vote in this bond referendum.