Brewster, Mahopac Say No to BOCES Remediation Plan
The Brewster, Mahopac and Chappaqua Boards of Education last week rejected BOCES’ request to fund $19.5 million in repairs for the BOCES campus in Yorktown citing difficult economic times which now compels BOCES to formulate another proposal for the remediation.
BOCES is composed of six school districts in Putnam (Brewster, Carmel, Mahopac, Garrison, Haldane and Putnam Valley) as well as 12 school systems in northern Westchester.
One rejection by any of the districts sent the entire project back to the drawing board.
Boards of Education in Carmel, Haldane, Garrison, North Salem and four Westchester districts approved the plan. The remaining districts will vote within the next few weeks.
Brewster Board of Education President Stephen Jambor said his board believed the BOCES project was “worthwhile, however, now is not the time since schools across the region are struggling with the state’s mandated 2-percent tax cap resulting in reductions of staff. Increasing BOCES costs would have meant additional teaching positions being slashed.”
Mahopac Board of Education President Penny Swift said her board also felt the price tag for the project was too excessive in today’s economy: “BOCES must look at a different plan and refine its proposal.”
BOCES shares its services with schools in the two counties by providing a variety of programs that include special education and continuing education.
BOCES Superintendent James Langlois agreed that “extremely difficult and challenging times face schools today. I understand our districts’ concern however the individual districts must realize that the buildings in need of roofs, ventilation, heating and air conditioning systems belong to them. The work is long overdue.”
Langlois told the PCN&R the structure that had been created by BOCES administrative personnel would have the “least impact on budget-to-budget increases. If the project fails to win approval ultimately, as systems begin to fail, districts will begin receiving bills for emergency repairs that will be more costly than the proposal as originally designed.”
Langlois promised to work with all of the Boards of Education within the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES region in “modifying the plan and making it more palatable.”