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BOCES: $1.5 Million Needed From Chappaqua Schools

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES, which recently announced that it is seeking a little more than $18 million in funds for capital projects, revealed to the Chappaqua school board Tuesday night that it expects the district to contribute $1.57 million to the bill.

Though Chappaqua students do not use the BOCES facilities as much as those from other districts, BOCES Assistant Superintendent Tom Higgins said the contributions are based on a combination of true property value and district enrollment figures. Of the 18 districts, Chappaqua ranks near the top of both.

“It’s not possible,” Jeffrey Meester, a board member, said of finding the money in the district’s budget. “We’re talking about $1.5 million. That’s 12 teachers? Thirteen teachers?”

Higgins said he recognized the difficulties districts will have in contributing the money, but said the projects are a necessity. Four of the five BOCES campus buildings were given unsatisfactory ratings and would need proper repairs to stay open.

“The timing could not be worse for us to have a need, to come to the 18 districts to talk about capital projects,” said Higgins. “But the circumstances that we’re dealing with are our roofs and our HVHC systems are in an age where they need attention.”

Higgins said that if the plan is not passed by the 18 districts, BOCES would have to declare an emergency and use district funds without notice.

“It’s a terrible alternative,” said Higgins, who said he believes the BOCES plan allows for the districts to budget and properly allocate the funds.

Superintendent Lyn McKay said the Chappaqua school district does use BOCES "quite a bit."  While she said Chappaqua students do not often use the campus, the district uses BOCES in many other areas.

“I recognize that we really do use them quite a bit in terms of the professional development,” she said.

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