BOCES Superintendent Langlois addresses Garrison School Board

Garrison School’s share of cost revealed

By Michael Mell

The Putnam/Northern Westchester Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) made a presentation to the Garrison School Board outlining its $19 million capital plan and how the costs would be shared by its member school districts. The GUFS share will be $191,000, not including debt service. The BOCES is not a taxing entity and must solicit funding from member schools. Each school district must hold a public vote approving the plan and the BOCES may not proceed without unanimous approval of all 18 member districts. Making the presentation were BOCES Superintendent James T. Langlois and Assistant Superintendents Thomas Higgins and John McCarthy.

Much of the BOCES campus buildings are over 40 years-old and in need of repairs, upgrades or replacement. There are five components of the capital plan: HVAC, roofing, pool and service building. New HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems are needed for two buildings and seven buildings require upgrades. Roofing on all nine campus buildings are to be replaced with single-ply rubber membrane roofing systems. A new therapeutic pool is required for disabled students and those with autism. McCarthy pointed out that use of the pool is also integrated into the curriculum of other classes and training in social interactions. The campus service building requires upgrade of its fire alarm and public address systems. Softs costs are the last piece and include architect’s fees (6.5 percent,) escalation and contingency

Capital Budget Summary

Service building
Soft costs
$8.7 million
$5.1 million
$2.95 million
$150, 000
$2.06 million
$19.5 million

GUFS and Haldane Response
In an email GUFS Superintendent Gloria Colucci told that the board has been aware of the capital project since last spring when Board Vice-president Raymond O’Rourke attended a presentation at BOCES. At that time, BOCES was trying to resolve the funding for the project. More recently, board member Anita Prentice attended a BOCES board meeting and reported to the GUFS board this past October. The project is not scheduled to begin until the 2012/13 school year and the GUFS board will include its portion as a line item when it prepares the 2012/13 budget.

Haldane Superintendent Mark Villanti also told that “The [Haldane] Board of Education reviewed the need for the capital improvements last year. President Merandy, Vice-president Curto and I visited the Putnam / N. Westchester BOCES site personally and were persuaded that the work needs to be completed. The financing of the project over an 18-year period reduces the economic burden significantly for Haldane. The schedule of annual payments is posted on our web site. With that said the Board has not reached any conclusions and will deliberate in open sessions once we receive a specific request for an up or down vote.”

Costs to BOCES Districts
McCarthy explained that the cost would be distributed among member school districts according to two criteria: true value [of property assessment in the district] (50 percent) and weighted average daily attendance (50 percent.) The two criteria allow for proportional contributions based upon the size of the individual school districts over the anticipated three-year course of the project. State law allows school districts to borrow, if necessary, to finance their portion.

The P/NW BOCES was founded in 1948 and provides services for both students and school districts. The campus is located in Yorktown Heights and staffed with its own superintendent, assistant superintendents and administration, in addition to teachers, counselors and other staff. Traditionally the BOCES has offered classes in auto body/repair, construction trades, cosmetology and fashion design: which in the past have been regarded by many as “vocational” classes. Reflecting recent trends in education, they now also provide courses in culinary arts, law enforcement, marketing, graphic design, animation, computer assisted drawing (CAD), health, engineering, environmental science and education. Students typically spend part of the day at their local school and part on the BOCES campus. Many classes include “hands on” training and internships. The BOCES also maintains alternate high school programs and a GED (general education degree) program (for students who have not completed high school.)

Therapuetic pool
The BOCES also offers special education programs for students with multiple disabilities, students on the autism spectrum and students with learning disabilities. These programs can take place exclusively on campus or in combination with the local school. Related services include: speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and work with hearing and vision impaired students.

Perhaps lesser known, are the services BOCES provides to its member school districts. GUFS Superintendent Colucci said that there “are many advantages for a district our size. Many things we would never be able to do ourselves. The BOCES provides assistance in creation and development of curriculum via their Curriculum Council and as liaison to the State Education Department. They offer professional development courses for teachers and assistance with newly enacted state requirements for teacher and student evaluation.

On the management side, the BOCES provides IT services, a health insurance consortium and a database of 195,000 teacher and staff resumes. Over 300 school districts use the database when hiring new staff.

The BOCES also provides adult programs in nursing, English language learning and GED. Continuing education classes in trade programs, culinary training, real estate and computers are also offered.
Images courtesy of BOCES

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Mell is a freelance journalist and former editor at The Current.