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At Monday night’s planning board meeting I asked one question regarding the application for a helispot at the future Shrub Oak International School at the former site of the Phoenix House on Stoney Street. I asked about the prospective owner's use of helicopter transportation. Their lawyer answered my question by saying that Michael Koffler did take a helicopter ride once on a trip to Hawaii. I accept that answer as the truth. (A generous assumption on my part as the Koffler’s have a problem with the truth. They have exploited special education programs for personal financial gain resulting in their settlement with the state of NY for $4.3 million dollars.) But after some thought I realized that I was barking up the wrong tree - their primary desire for a helistop is not for emergencies nor is it for northern Westchester first responders. For the Shrub Oak International School the helistop is a very powerful, essential SALES TOOL needed to attract the customers that they are targeting - extremely wealthy people who have autistic children. To fill the beds at Shrub Oak INTERNATIONAL School they will have to draw from well beyond the Westchester area to families of great wealth who can afford to spend $300,000/year for residential status at the school. This helistop is for the convenience of the school’s wealthy clients. These clients have the financial means to get to Yorktown by helicopter and just need a place to takeoff and land. The Koffler’s need these families and want to afford them the luxury of quickly and easily getting to Yorktown.
This school will “service” very few if any of the children of my friends and neighbors in Yorktown with autistic children. These families simply do not have the $300,000 for the Shrub Oak International School residential tuition. But I do not begrudge the Koffler’s their business model - wealthy people too have autistic children but I believe that they are misrepresenting their need and use for this helistop.