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BOCES Chief Asks Support for Repairs Bond

Appeal to the Lakeland School Board follows rejection of the $19 million project by three of the co-op's 18 member districts; six others back the work.

Battling to bankroll some $19 million in repairs at , Dr. James Langlois urged board of education members Thursday night to approve its $1.7 million share of the bill.

Upbeat despite three other districts’ rejection of a proposed bond, Langlois, the BOCES superintendent, stressed the “no-choice” nature of the repairs.

“The lifetime of these roofs and HVACs are ending when they’re ending,” he told the board during a meeting at the in Mohegan Lake.

"They were all built at the same time," he said. "They all need replacing at the same time."

Lakeland, one of 18 districts that jointly own the sprawling bi-county educational facility in Yorktown, is among the final seven to vote on the repair project. So far, six districts have agreed to pay their share of the repair costs, a figure based on the district’s property values and number of students at BOCES. Three other districts have refused and nine remain to be counted.

While one rejection is enough to scuttle the project, Langlois plans to revisit the districts that voted down the funds, seeking to persuade them on the need to make the scheduled repairs or to present a modified, presumably scaled-back, plan.

In the meantime, he’s visiting the districts that have not yet voted. In addition to Lakeland, they are Briarcliff, Garrison, Haldane, Ossining, Putnam Valley, Somers, Peekskill and .

Lakeland’s school board, polite and in the end noncommittal, offered little encouragement.

"The hesitation is the money," said Carol Ann Dobson, the board's vice president. She added that no one questions the need for the repairs, but it's “just the timing" they're concerned about.

“We tried to pick the worst possible time,” he quipped. Jokes aside, Langlois emphasized the end-of-life nature of the needed repairs.

The include $2.95 million to fix a therapeutic pool, $8.7 million for the heating-ventilation-air conditioning (HVAC) work across seven buildings and $5.19 million for roof repairs.

Since BOCES is not a taxing entity, it needs the approval of all 18 school boards before the project can proceed. It has asked the districts to complete their voting by month’s end.

BOCES—the Board of Cooperative Educational Services—offers programs of special education, vocational training and online learning, as well as technical and support services. Although the school districts collectively own the BOCES facilities, capital costs to keep them running are not exempt under the state’s newly enacted tax-cap restrictions.

Langlois told the board that Assemblywoman Sandy Galef of Ossining was working to include that exemption. “But don’t count on it,” he said.

Patty Villanova January 21, 2012 at 01:36 PM
It istruly astonishing that the BOCES bureaucrats have the audacity to demand even more money from the already strapped taxpayers of this region. BOCES is another government SCAM, another layer of taxpayer funding for the Fat Cat Bureaucrats. We're already paying the highest school taxes in the nation. ALL of our local budgets fund repairs and maintenance on our buildings- in Put Valley we've paid millions for the same repairs, year after year- yet they keep asking for MORE. I urge readers to carefully check their own school budgets and see what they're paying for (besides the obscene salaries, pensions & benefits). BOCES is another part of the shadow government that is sucking the lifeblood out of the citizens of this region. BOCES should be abolished. It's not doing anything for the consolidation they're all talking about (year, like they're really gonna abolish the union jobs that are kiling us) it's just another giant taxing authority over which we have no control and very little say so. Just say NO to whatever they ask for- let them learn to live within our means.
Christine January 21, 2012 at 01:47 PM
To encourage support by the collective districts, boxes should invite a representative of each to sit on their project committee. Many of these districts have been through the process of improvements like these and their input may be both time and cost saving. Yorktown just refurbished a pool. The process was challenging. Didn't peekskill install a new pool fairly recently? Why not benefit from their experience and insight? Could the work be done in phases to divide the expense over multiple years? Is there a professional project management team in place? No doubt the work needs to happen, but thee are many ways to go about it and 18 districts with invaluable input. Why not encourage it?
Patty Villanova January 21, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Why not encourage it? Are you kidding- Aren't your taxes high enough already? All of these people have the "it's so easy to spend other people's money" virus.
TMLeigh January 21, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Patty, I know you personally and respect your due diligence abilities, but, I disagree with you on this matter. I am a 1978 graduate of BOCES NWTC and credit them for success in my career and training. What has not been disclosed is the true line item cost of the budget, not the bottom line number. How much is the cost per student per yer of the bond financing. What are the soft, general conditions, abatement, equipment replacement, and bricks and mortar line item costs, The buildings are now over 40 yars old and wear and tear and exposure to the elements have taken there toll. Educational standards, building codes, cost of living, and energy costs have increased since it was built. The lack of financing approval for the BOCES and NWTC trade schools could keep the students in their home schools and discourage teaching them the trade and occupational skills that the home schools don't have budgets for. That would be the real disadvantage for Lakeland and other students.
dleighg January 26, 2012 at 08:06 PM
The article doesn't seem to mention the names of the three districts which voted no; which were they?

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