George F. Baker High School To Remain Open in 2015-2016  

We applaud the Tuxedo Union Free School District Board of Education's decision to keep George F. Baker High School open next school year. Yesterday, the board voted 4-2 in favor of continuing Baker's 85-year history of academic excellence. 

This was not an easy decision for the board. The conversion charter application was the best possible solution, but since that was denied by the Board of Regents, each subsequent option came with its own set of challenges. We are compassionate to the numerous parents who called on the board to consider allowing their kids to leave the district and commute to larger high schools, some public, others private. While this would have been an appealing solution with several benefits, the downsides also must be weighed: increased out-of-district tuition costs, a further fragmentation in the community, the simple fact that the buildings themselves aren't going away. I hope that the school-of-choice option is something that our district can offer all of our parents in the future, as this was a very appealing feature of our proposed conversion charter. That said, we feel that the board did the right thing by placing the needs of the many ahead of the desires of the few. 

Remember that our Board of Education is composed of volunteers from our community - our neighbors and our friends - all people who care deeply about us and our kids. Their commitment throughout this entire difficult process has been incredible. I want to thank Joanne, Diane, and the entire board for all of their time, research, and sleepless nights that went into this decision. I also want to thank Carol, Art, Frank, Marco, and the tremendous staff who have fought day and night for years to keep our high school running at the highest possible level, most of the time with their jobs literally on the line. 

Make no mistake - this was a vote for the entire Tuxedo community. It was a vote for all of us. Closing the high school would have likely been an irrevocable decision, and one that would have far-reaching secondary and tertiary effects on everyone who is connected to Tuxedo. The outstanding quality of small-classroom education would be the first casualty, but it is also a simple fact that the school district is Tuxedo's largest single employer. Shutting it down would have hurt us all immensely. 

There are several challenges that come with this as our adopted course of action. Primarily, running a small school presents some difficulties - financial, social, and diversification, to name a few. We, as the greater Tuxedo community, must be willing to step up and assist our leaders in education if we are to be successful next school year and beyond. 

I am calling on everyone who cares about Tuxedo to commit to supporting our kids and the institution that is George F. Baker High School in the coming year. Volunteer, pledge, donate - but please, get yourself involved in our kids future and do what you can to support our kids, our teachers, our administrators, and tremendous staff, who have been through so much in the past four years. 

We would like to applaud the tremendous generosity of Christian & Sally Sonne, whose $500,000 grant through the Mulford Funds Grant, in part, allows us to continue the tradition begun by George F. Baker himself. For years I have been privileged to work alongside Chris in the Tuxedo Historical Society, and the entire community owes him a debt for his lifelong dedication to making Tuxedo a better place. 

I'd also like to call on the Greenwood Lake Board of Education to stop hurting their kids with their unreasonable, last-minute demands. Their unfortunate efforts within the political system to block our charter application represents a tragic failure of governance and a misplaced set of priorities. If as much effort was placed into improving their educational program as hurting Tuxedo's, we would all be better served. Sacrificing a quality option and removing the ability of their parents to choose Tuxedo as an option for their kids, if they wish, is a shameful outcome of their bitterness and unwillingness to negotiate. It's time to set aside our differences and move beyond the past in and effort to improve our future through education. 

George F. Baker High School is a large part of our community. We must now rally to support it, and continue the legacy of excellence that our high school represents. 

William A. Sweet

Board of Education Approves Creation of STEM Academy at George F. Baker 

On the last night of Feburary, the Tuxedo Union Free School District voted 7-0 in favor of creating a STEM Academy at George F. Baker High School. The conversion will occur this fall. 

We are very excited about the change and pledge our full support behind the school district. Our hope is that they will be able to become the premier educational facility in Orange County, and that the programs offered will be of the highest quality. 

Two Tuxedo High School Graduates Earn Deans List Honors at RPI 

Greenwood Lake residents Andrew Ehlers and Sara Neyman have been going 
to school together for a very long time.  

As classmates since kindergarten, they graduated from middle school with honors and distinguished themselves as the valedictorian and salutatorian of the class of 2012 from George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo.  

Upon graduation  Andrew and Sara received academic scholarships to, and are attending  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and are continuing to earn top honors.  

Andrew, a major in Materials Science Engineering, and Sara, presently enrolled in RPI’s five year architecture program were recently named to RPI’s Dean’s List for the fall semester.

Dennis Petrilak
George F. Baker High School 

The Choices Are In From Eighth-Graders in Greenwood Lake

Out of the 66 eighth-grade students who will enter high school this fall, 48 chose George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo as their choice, which is 73% of the group.

11 (17%) chose to attend Warwick, and seven (11%) chose Chester.

We are very excited that the majority of students are choosing to attend Baker. We are continuing to work with the School Board as we are building a bright future for the school district here in the community.

For more, please read the Warwick Advertiser's article here.

Public Consulting Group Presentation

The Public Consulting Group that has been working with the Tuxedo and Greenwood Lake communities to solidify the future of George F. Baker High School published a report in a public presentation on Thursday, January 10th. 

Their top three recommendations: 1) convert George F. Baker into a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Academy, 2) apply for a conversion to become a charter school, and 3) invite New York International University Center to offer a dual enrollment (college and high school credits).

The full report can be viewed here.

Meanwhile, the Superintendent and School Board are soliciting public feedback and questions as they evaluate the options. You can send your comment or question to The Board is planning to address them at a public hearing planned for February 6th at 1:30 PM and 7:00 PM.

Warwick is Facing Some "Dire" Budget Cuts 

The grass is not always greener on the other side.

While Warwick is an excellent school district, they are facing the same struggles that many larger high schools are being challenged with in Orange County and across the nation.

The Warwick Valley School District will begin a community education blitz about a potential $3 million budget gap that could result in "dire" cuts — including school closures and the loss of sports, band and other programs.

Please read more at the Times-Herald Record.

Final Recommendations for the Tuxedo Union Free School District Consultant Group

Thursday, January 10th
George F. Baker High School Auditorium
1 Tornado Drive
Tuxedo NY 10987

The final recommendations from the public educational consulting group will be released to the public on Thursday, January 10th, at the George F. Baker High School Auditorium. This information was released via their public newsletter for December.

For more information, please see the school district website or read their December newsletter.

School District Leaders to Host Q & A Session with Tuxedo Park Residents on Monday

Monday, December 17th 7:00 PM
St. Mary's-in-Tuxedo
10 Fox Hill Road
Tuxedo NY 10987

On Monday evening, several leaders from the Tuxedo Union Free School District will host a question and answer session with residents of Tuxedo Park at St. Mary's-In-Tuxedo in their community room.

Present will be:

Mrs. Carol Lomascolo, Superintendent of Schools
Mrs. Joanne Vernon, Board President
Mrs. Diana Petrosky, Board Vice President
Dr. Ray Barone, Board Member
Ms. Dawn Cupano, Business Administrator
Ms. Nancy Teed, Director of Student Services/Human Resources

Thank you to TPFYI for publishing this information on their website, here

Consultant Group Survey Available 

The Tuxedo Union Free School District is working with a consultant group to determine the options available for the future of our high school - George F. Baker. They are meeting with community groups - including the Chamber - in the last two weeks of October.

As part of the process, Superintendent Carol Lomascolo has invited the Chamber of Commerce and its members to participate in a survey to have your voice heard - the Tuxedo community - on what you are looking for from the high school. 

A link to the survey is here. Please fill it out as soon as you can.

The town website has additional details (, or, read more on the Tuxedo Free Union School District website.

Additionally, the consultant group is meeting with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, October 23rd, at 3:30 PM. If you would like to participate in that meeting, please contact Lisa Favia as soon as possible. Attendance is limited so please send your request early.

More details can be found by reading the TUFSD Community Outreach letter here.

Greenwood Lake Board Approves George F. Baker Contract, Sets Tuition Rate

On October 17th, the Greenwood Lake Board supported last week's decision to add George F. Baker as an option by a 4-2 vote. The Board approved a 22-month contract that will have Tuxedo as an option for their kids through the 2014-2015 school year.

The contract set a tuition rate of $12,000, which, once they are adjusted for the unfair imbalances in state aid, is comparable to what the district will be paying to Warwick and Chester. Both of the latter districts receive significant subsidies from the State of New York that TUFSD is not entitled to.

The contract is expected to be ratified at the October 18th TUFSD Board of Education meeting.

Greenwood Lake Board Agrees to Add George F. Baker to "School of Choice" Model

As first reported via Facebook and Twitter, the Greenwood Lake Board of Education voted to add George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo as an option for their children for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years. The two districts will negotiate a contract in the coming weeks. Confirmation came in this morning via the Times-Herald Record.

This is fantastic news for our school district, both the Tuxedo and Greenwood Lake communities, but most importantly the children of Tuxedo and Greenwood Lake who consider George F. Baker their home as they have for the past 31 years. We wish to applaud the extraordinary efforts of the students, parents, and community organizers who have worked tirelessly toward this goal since February.

We will obviously confirm the news in time for our Chamber meeting this evening (6:00 PM at the Train Station) with TUFSD Superintendent Carol Lomascolo.

Spirit Rally at George F. Baker 

On Friday, October 5th, the students of George F. Baker High School held a Spirit Rally to demonstrate their support for the school.

Many thanks to John Meore, photographer, for capturing the event, and Maria from Around The Lake for publishing them on her website.

To see what it looked like, please click here.

Support for George F. Baker High School Continues From Both Greenwood Lake, Tuxedo Communities

As reported by the Times-Herald Record ("Greenwood Lake Parents Back Tuxedo School Option") and Photo News ("Greenwood Lake-Tuxedo Communities Rally To Show Their Support For a Three-School Option"), the Campaign to Remain gathered 647 signatures from parents and students to present to the Greenwood Lake Board of Education.

We remain hopeful that the Greenwood Lake Board of Education will reverse their decision and allow George F. Baker as an option for their students in the future. The Board of Education already rescinded a decision on April 25th to negotiate exclusively with Tuxedo, reportedly under the understanding that a three-school option would be the best fit for Greenwood Lake, so there is a precedent for change.

The extraordinary efforts of the Campaign to Remain have made their position known. Our desire is to continue the mutually beneficial relationship with the high school students of Greenwood Lake and continue the operation of a nationally-ranked educational institution (US News and World Report has Baker on their "Best High Schools" list) that has served both communities with distinction for the past 31 years.

Tuxedo Superintendent Carol Lomascolo to Attend October 10th Meeting

Chamber of Commerce Membership Meeting
Wednesday, October 10th, 6:00 PM
Live Technology
16 Sterling Lake Road
Tuxedo NY 10987

Tuxedo Union Free School District Carol Lomascolo will attend our meeting on Wednesday, October 10th at 6:00 PM. She will discuss the road ahead for George F. Baker High School in the wake of the Greenwood Lake Board of Education's decision to remove the school as an option for their children.

The Tuxedo Union Free School District is the Chamber's largest employer. We have been working closely working with the school board and the administration for the entire year and are committed to helping the district however we can. Removing approximately 300 high school students from George F. Baker over the next few years will be a massive change to the district and to our community, and we are looking forward to hearing about the options that are being examined. This is an issue that affects all of us as business owners and taxpayers and we hope that you will be a part of the conversation.

Our host for the evening is Chamber member Live Technology, which offers innovative cross-platform marketing solutions from their corporate headquarters here in Tuxedo. Live Technology is one of our most interesting businesses and we are excited to learn more about their products and services.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 10th, at 6:00 PM at 16 Sterling Lake Road.

The Chamber Supports the Campaign To Remain Protest Walk

Walk for Choice
Protest Walk Against the Greenwood Lake Board of Education
Wednesday, September 19th, 5:00 PM
CVS Parking Lot
123 Windermere Ave
Greenwood Lake NY 10925

The parents of Greenwood Lake have invited the Tuxedo Chamber of Commerce to participate in their Walk for Choice, a protest against the Greenwood Lake Board of Education's decision to remove the best option for their children's education: George F. Baker High School.

The peaceful demonstration will begin on Wednesday at 5:00 PM in the CVS parking lot at 123 Windermere Avenue. It will end with a delivery of a signed petition of hundreds of parents who want George F. Baker as an option for their children in a "school of choice" scenario.

If you are affected by the GWL Board's decision to remove George F. Baker, consider joining this group on Wednesday.

Why Not Add George F. Baker As An Option? 

It's not too late for the Greenwood Lake Board of Education to reverse course - they have already after voting to accept George F. Baker as the sole option for the 2013-2018 school years on April 25th. 

We urge those who wish to have a true choice - including George F. Baker - to reach out to the Greenwood Lake Board of Education and request that they add Tuxedo as a choice for their parents. 

The April 25th vote was rescinded, reportedly, because it was not a unanimous vote by the Board (4-3). The August 29th vote was not unanimous as well, being 4-2 with one absent. 

We ask the Greenwood Lake community to demand that the board reconvene until a unanimous choice is reached - hopefully, a compromise that includes George F. Baker as an option for Greenwood Lake kids. 

Lena Buckley, a responsible parent from Greenwood Lake, echos our frustration with the GWL Board of Education in denying George F. Baker as a choice for her children in her letter to the editor of the Photo News here

Greenwood Lake Board Reverses Course, Chooses To Remove Tuxedo as an Option

At a public meeting on August 29th, the Greenwood Lake Board of Education removed Tuxedo and George F. Baker High School - home to their high school students for the past 31 years - as an option for students beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.

The Board will negotiate contracts with Warwick and Chester, only.

We are extremely disappointed in the Board's unfortunate decision, which effectively denies their parents and kids the best choice for their children's education. 

The decision is especially baffling following the Board's April 25th vote to negotiate exclusively with Tuxedo. This vote was recinded a month later to allow for the Board to offer a "school of choice" option to their parents, which would allow parents to choose which high school they want their child to attend. 

We are shocked and dismayed that George F. Baker High School is not going to be offered as a choice to the kids of Greenwood Lake, in spite of the unanimous support by kids attending the high school and graduates who attended the public forums. 

We can only hope that - like the April 25th vote - that this is not the end of the discussion. We continue to strongly believe that the best school for Greenwood Lake students is George F. Baker High School. 

Final Vote Planned on August 29th 

The Greenwood Lake Board of Education plans to hold a meeting on August 29th to make a final decision on their high school options for school year 2014-2015.

We continue to urge the responsible individuals on the Greenwood Lake Board to choose their kids' high school - George F. Baker High School - which has distinctively served the needs of the Greenwood Lake students since 1981.

We respectfully await their decision and hope that George F. Baker is the choice as it's been since 1981. It's not the cheapest option, but this is kid's education we're talking about - nothing is more important - and we think Greenwood Lake deserves the best.

Greenwood Lake Deserves the Best High School Option
Not the Cheapest - The Best:
George F. Baker

Public Form Continues Discussion, No Resolution Yet

The Greenwood Lake Board of Education public forum on August 15th passed with much discussion but no resolution. According to the Warwick Advertiser, the most likely option being debated: 

"A parental choice option which includes the Chester, Tuxedo and Warwick school districts for a one- or two-year period, which would not require a public vote."

The Tuxedo Chamber and all 361 Greenwood Lake members of the Campaign to Remain are behind George F. Baker as the option for their students. We continue to urge the Greenwood Lake Board of Education not to throw away an option that has dutifully and diligently served the school district since 1981 in favor of cheaper options in which they will be the minority.

Keep in mind what is at state: US News and World Report ranks George F. Baker in the top 4% of high schools nationally (741st out of approximately 22,000), while Warwick is 402 spots lower (at 1143) and Chester is not ranked at all.

Public Forum Scheduled for August 15th 

The Greenwood Lake Board of Education will meet during a public forum ("special public work session") to continue their discussion concerning the fate of Greenwood Lake high school children as they continue to weigh their options. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 15th, at 80 Waterstone Rd. in Greenwood Lake. Any decisions made could go into effect as early as September of 2013 for the 2013-2014 school year.

The Tuxedo Chamber continues to fully support the George F. Baker High School in Tuxedo as the best school to meet the needs of the high-school aged children of Greenwood Lake. As it has for the past 31 years, George F. Baker will provide the best all-around educational package, and the students of Greenwood Lake will continue to compromise approximately 80% of it's student body, making it effectively Greenwood Lake High School. Both the valedictorian and salutatorian of George F. Baker's Class of 2012 are from Greenwood Lake.

While there are certainly cheaper and less effective options available to the Greenwood Lake Board of Education, we fully believe that George F. Baker stands out above all other high schools when you consider all of the factors, not just tuition rates per student. We also do not feel it is in the best interest of the student population to put a price on the most important thing in a young person's life: their education.

By definition, George F. Baker High School is built to cater to the specific needs of the children of Greenwood Lake. In no other school district will Greenwood Lake student compose the vast majority of the student population; in fact, in one of the competing districts, they will represent less than 16% of the population. To us, that means that Greenwood Lake already has its own high school: George F. Baker. Furthermore, the last time Greenwood Lake students were on a path to attend a high school less appropriate for their needs, 86% voted against them in a public referendum (2,710 votes against vs. 428 for).

From what we understand, the Board is committed to reviewing a "School of Choice" option for the entire Greenwood Lake School District. We certainly understand the temptation of such a compromise, and fully respect the rights of the GWL Board to review and evaluate all options for its constituents. In the end, they will make the best decision for their kids as they see it. We believe that choice is George F. Baker High School.

86% of Warwick Voters Don't Want Greenwood Lake Students In Their High School 

In 2007, the last time the Greenwood Lake Board of Education went through the educational contract process, they settled on Warwick as their primary choice. However, a public referendum was required in Warwick to approve the merger.

86% of Warwick voters voted against the measure - a total of 2,710 to 428 denying the transfer to Warwick.

In public meetings, officials from Warwick have told the Greenwood Lake Board that this time it's different. But actions speak much, much louder than words. Talk is cheap.

George F. Baker High School has spent the last 31 years catering to the needs of the Greenwood Lake high school students through taking care of their kids and providing them with an educational environment that US News and World Report has on their "Best High Schools" list and is ranked in the top 8% of New York State high schools (93rd out of 1,165).

Tuxedo Superintendent Releases Update Letter For Greenwood Lake, Tuxedo Voters 

TUFSD Superintendent Carol Lomascolo released this letter to the editor to update people concerning the current situation.

Greenwood Lake Board of Education Changes Their Mind, Rescinds April 25 Vote, Will Continue Debate 

On May 23rd, the Greenwood Lake Board of Education voted to rescind the resolution for a community vote to enter into a tuition agreement with Tuxedo and George F. Baker High School. This was reported by the TUFSD website.

The change was in response to a public outcry for the school of choice option discussed at the April 25th public forum.

"Please be assured that our Board of Education and I are committed to the continuation of our long standing relationship with Greenwood Lake and I thank you for your continued support," says Tuxedo Superintendent Carol Lomascolo.

Greenwood Lake Chooses To Negotiate With Tuxedo 

On Wednesday, April 25th, at a special public meeting of the Greenwood Lake Board of Education, the members voted 4-3 in favor of negotiating a new contract with the Tuxedo Union Free School District. 

We wish to publicly commend the Board for their diligence in reaching a decision that allows the children of Greenwood Lake to attend the best school that fits their needs: George F. Baker High School. 

A public vote will be held in the Village of Greenwood Lake on or about June 19th, which requires a simple majority to pass. 

The Tuxedo Chamber of Commerce remains dedicated to maintaining the extremely successful partnership that has existed at George F. Baker between the high school students of Greenwood Lake and Tuxedo. To us in the business community, we do not see any boundary between students or parents or faculty - George F. Baker is one school, and one community. 

This resolution should be seen as the beginning of a journey, not the end. 

Superior Education at George F. Baker

Independent rankings are difficult to find at the high school level. However, US News and World Report ranks George F. Baker in the top 4% of high schools nationally (741 out of approximately 22,000), while Warwick is 402 spots lower (at 1143) and Chester is not ranked at all.

The Campaign to Remain: Why Greenwood Lake Should Choose to Keep Their High School, George F. Baker


ince 1981, Tuxedo and Greenwood Lake have enjoyed a unique partnership in educating their high school students. They have shared George F. Baker High School, an institution devoted to delivering exceptional instruction to meet the needs of each individual child. Today, approximately 80% of the students who attend George F. Baker are Greenwood Lake residents. 

This spring, the Greenwood Lake Board of Education will decide whether to continue their relationship with the Tuxedo Union Free School District or join another high school. 

Their decision has wide-reaching effects, starting with the most important factor: the future education of Greenwood Lake children. George F. Baker High School boasts extremely small class sizes, especially when compared to larger school districts, and according to numerous studies, smaller class sizes are highly correlated with increased academic achievement. 

Furthermore, the vast majority of George F. Baker students - again, nearly 80% - are from Greenwood Lake. For all intents and purposes, George F. Baker High School IS Greenwood Lake High School. At George F. Baker, Greenwood Lake residents receive the personal attention they need and deserve from teachers and administrators alike. 

Sports programs and other extracurricular activities are commonly cited as a reason to switch school districts, but we do not believe that other high schools have any real advantage. Consider simple statistics - a Greenwood Lake resident is far more likely to make the basketball team or band at George F. Baker than he or she is at any other school simply because they compromise the majority of the student body. 

Financial concerns are also paramount to the decision, as we are all struggling through a difficult economic climate. Yet most financial numbers that are quoted in the paper are misleading at best - please see this article for more information on why per-child tuition rates are extremely deceiving. 

An exceptional grass-roots movement is underway from the residents of Greenwood Lake and their voice is being heard. Center stage is the "Campaign to Remain," led by George F. Baker senior Lee Stanton, featured in the Times-Herald Record and Warwick Valley Advertiser

The economic impact of losing the Tuxedo Union Free School District - our town's largest employer - would be catastrophic. Almost all of our businesses depend on the teachers and students of the school district and their economic activity, from buying lunch, to purchasing a gallon of milk, a newspaper, breakfast, or getting a tax return done in town. Losing them would mean all of our small businesses in town would suffer losing their largest client base. 

The decision is in the hands of the people of Greenwood Lake - our brothers and sisters, friends and family. We fully respect their choice and furthermore understand that the Greenwood Lake Board of Education must do their due diligence in making a decision.

Yet we ask that Greenwood Lake remain with George F. Baker High School because 1) superior academics, 2) our outstanding track record of success together, and 3) the catastrophic economic impact of closing a high school would have on our joint community.