CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Northern Westchester/Putnam BOCES returned to Chappaqua last week with revised construction plans for capital projects that would set the school district back $1.2 million.
BOCES initially presented the renovations to the Board of Education last November, which required a unanimous vote by the 18 component school districts that use the facilities. The project was voted down by six of the districts, including Chappaqua.
The project would build a therapy pool, replace HVAC units, and replace and repair roofs. Chappaqua was initially on the hook for $1.57 million, but BOCES has since scaled some of the projects back.
“Overall, from the original project to now we've cut it back by about $2.1 million,” said John McCarthy, BOCES’ assistant superintendent for administration. The overall project has been reduced from $19 million to $16.9 million.
As with last time the project was proposed, board members took issue with Chappaqua having to foot such a large portion of the bill despite using the facilities less than other communities.
While Chappaqua students do not use the BOCES facilities as much as other districts, 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.
The board will re-vote on the capital projects at a to-be-determined time on Oct. 9 at the Education Center. Regardless of how the board votes, though, McCarthy said the projects will get done.
“I don't want this to come across as a threat, but the reality is these roofs need to be fixed, and we need to do it in a way that we feel is responsible,” he said. “If this project doesn't pass on Oct. 9, as we stated in our June memo to the board, our board has authorized us to move forward and get this project done.”
McCarthy said BOCES would have to significantly increase the districts’ annual contribution to its capital fund balance, which districts are required to pay.
Chappaqua’s Director of Facilities Joe Gramando said he understands the projects need to be done, but worried about the long-term planning of the projects.
“These projects have to get done and they’re going to do them either way,” Gramando said. “But if we’re saying that we’re owners of these buildings, then I think we should have a larger say in how it’s maintained going forward.”