The ripple effect of the impending closure of the Indian Point nuclear power plants in Buchanan is already being felt in the Hendrick Hudson School District.
During a recent Board of Education meeting, trustees and administrators decided to put a proposed capital project on hold with the financial uncertainties of the plants shutting down in four years looming.
The project was slated to include improvements at all five of the district’s school buildings and was being contemplated to be put up to voters this spring with the annual school budget vote. School officials will reevaluate the project in six months.
“We don’t have enough information regarding the closure of Indian Point to ask our community to make a decision on this by May 2017,” said Superintendent of Schools Joseph Hochreiter.
Knowing they literally can’t afford to take the shocking news of the Indian Point nuclear power plants closing in four years lightly, Hendrick Hudson School District officials are trying to come to grips with the funding gap the shutdown will create in the annual operating budget.
Hendrick Hudson will be saddled with a 30% financial shortfall to its operating budget after Entergy stops generating nuclear power at Unit 3 in April 2021. There is an emergency provision in a deal with New York State and Riverkeeper that could give Entergy an additional four years of service in the event of war, a sudden increase in electrical demand or a sudden shortage of electric energy.
Hochreiter said he and other school officials are scheduled to meet with “a team of six high-ranking officials” from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office on Thursday to outline the ramifications of Indian Point no longer being a financial partner to many community entities.
“They’re going to get a heavy dose of information,” Hochreiter said. “These people will really hear from us and how poorly this was done.”