Archive for February 13th, 2013

February 13, 2013

Quick Links – High schools teach retail management; what colleges really want; property tax break for condos

by Grace

◊◊◊  Shopping center partners with Yonkers high schools to teach retail management skills

YONKERS — Lots of high school students get jobs at the mall. But 26 Yonkers students are about to learn the whole operation — which could lead to better jobs down the road.

The students are getting an inside look at the Ridge Hill shopping center, thanks to a new partnership between Forest City Ratner Companies, the center’s developer, and Yonkers Partners in Education, a private group working to better prepare Yonkers students for college and careers.

Over 10 weeks, the students will learn about multiple sides of retail management, from restaurant operations to security to marketing. They’ll meet with Ridge Hill managers and officials from Lord & Taylor, Whole Foods, the Cheesecake Factory, National Amusements Showcase and the Westmed Medical Group.

The project, called Ridge Hill Academy, comes with a three-year $100,000 grant from Forest City Ratner.

One aim is for students to be mentored by store employees.  During the first session, the importance of public relations was part of the lesson.  One of the students spoke at the press conference, and the group posed for pictures with Mayor Mike Spano and other officials.  Some of the students attend a vocational high school, and from the photos it appears most participating students are black or Hispanic.

‘Ridge Hill Academy’ to introduce Yonkers students to retail management (

◊◊◊  “AP Courses and Other Myths about What Colleges Really Want” – video sponsored by Massachusetts high school features panel of admissions administrators

I haven’t viewed the entire video,and it received mixed reviews from the comments on a CollegeConfidential thread .  We have a similar panel discussion each year at our local high school, but typically with representatives of lower ranked schools.  The emphasis is on trying to reduce the mystery and stress of the college admissions process.

Topic: “AP Courses and Other Myths about What Colleges Really Want” A Panel Discussion with Community Question & Answer Period

Admissions officers from five Massachusetts universities will tackle the stress over getting into college and talk about what they’re really seeking in a panel discussion for the Lexington community.

Getting into college is an obsession for many Lexington students and their parents – an obsession that starts as early as elementary school. For too many, it is assumed that college admissions offices admit students with the “most” – the most AP classes, the most extracurricular activities, the most summer internships and the like. The result is a lot of stressed out students and parents. But are they right – is this what college admissions directors are looking for?…

Panelists: Lee Coffin, Tufts University dean of undergraduate admissions; William Fitzsimmons, Harvard College dean of admissions; Kevin Kelly, UMass-Amherst’s director of admissions; John McEachern, Boston University’s director of admissions, and Stuart Schmill, MIT’s director of admissions.

The event is co-sponsored by the LHS PTSA, Diamond PTA, Clarke PTA, Lexington School Health Advisory Council (SHAC), Youth Services Council/Lexington Human Services Department and the Collaborative to Reduce Student Stress.

◊◊◊  In most New York municipalities, condo owners pay about one-third of the property taxes that single-family homeowners pay.

This special tax break rankles many homeowners who feel condo owners are not paying their fair share.

The property-tax system is based on the proposition that one’s real estate holdings get taxed equally, based on a percentage of the value of the real estate. According to New York law, however, condos are assessed for property-tax purposes as if they were rental units….

Single-family homes, meanwhile, are taxed on their fair market value — what they’d fetch in the open market. They pay taxes on the full value of their homes and end up subsidizing the condo owners who get the break.

Defenders of the tax break argue that condo owners are paying a fair percentage based on the smaller amount of land they occupy, while critics say that their use of government services is equivalent to those of single-family occupants.

Co-op owners receive a similar property tax break.  I live in a town with a relatively high percentage of co-op residents, so I see first-hand how this inequity increases taxes for some residents.

Tax Watch: Condos catch property-tax break (

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