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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

BOCES $38.55 Million Bonding Plan Vote today

Today, February 13, 2007, is the day to vote on the $38.55 million BOCES plan. The voting takes place from 12 noon to 8 p.m. at your school district. For New Hartford Central School residents the voting will take place in the band room at the high school.

You do not need to be registered to vote, but you will be asked to show a photo i.d.

You are eligible to vote if:

  • you are a U.S. Citizen;
  • you are at least 18 years old, and
  • you have been a resident of the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES component school district for at least 30 days prior to the voting date.

Tonight a public hearing was held with only a handful of people in attendance and the majority of the people attending appeared to be connected to BOCES in some way.

One of the most problematic points of the discussion centered around Mr. Dorr's explanation of the method used to determine the amount paid by residents of each school district. Here is a look at the tabulation sheet for New Hartford Central School.

Mr. Dorr stated that item #8 on the sheet - Yearly Share of Reserve - represented previously collected taxpayer money that was to be used to create a reserve for renovations to the present BOCES Center. However, the committee decided to expand BOCES via this bonding instead of renovating; if the bonding is passed, the monies collected for the renovations would be given back to each of the school districts to use as they see fit. It was "hoped" that the schools would use the money to offset some of the bond costs. However, the school districts are under no obligation to use the money to offset the BOCES bonding costs; they can use the money (collected from taxpayers) any way they see fit. Since the "refund" to the districts was included in the formula used to determine the cost of the bonding plan for a home assessed for $100,000, if your respective school district chooses to use this money in some other fashion, the cost to the taxpayer would increase from those stated in the brochure you received in the mail. According to Mr. Mettelman, this was a decision that came about after talking to the Superintendents of the component school districts. So what do you think the chances are that the cost to the taxpayer will be reduced as a result of this refund; and if it isn't, what is the chance you will know about it? Too bad this wasn't part of the "sales pitch" given in the BOCES brochure so that all taxpayers could be aware of the facts.

Mr. Mettelman has promised that by noon today, he will provide me with the total number of students who currently attend BOCES from each of the component school districts. I asked what the figures in the brochure represent and he said it was the number of students enrolled as of September 30, 2005. Doesn't really tell anyone much--students at BOCES unlike component schools have a tendency to start out the year in a BOCES program and when they find out they aren't interested in the class, they tend to drop out. The key is how many students start in September and stay through until the end. As soon as I receive the information, I will post it on this blog--so check back early this afternoon if you are interested in the numbers.


Arkangel said...

GREAT JOB in stating the facts. It becomes obvious that this project is NOT needed and conceived in haste!

What becomes crystal clear is that the taxpayers were being assessed annually for an expense that never came to pass (i.e. reserve for renovations of $2,000,000).

I do hope the people of Oneida, Herkimer and Madison Counties "see the light" and VOTE NO!

Anonymous said...

Just business as usual!