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P-TECH headed to voters

SPRINGVILLE—Springville is one step closer to being the host town of BOCES’ P-TECH program after the Springville-Griffith Institute Board of Education approved the proposition. It will now be put on the ballot in the May vote.

The Pathways in Technology Early College High School program would put S-GI students, as well as students from neighboring districts, on an accelerated path to their associates degree. Students would enroll in ninth grade and spend five or six years studying for their high school diploma and an associates degree from Alfred State in one of two majors. Proposed to open in September, students will have the option of an electrical pathway or computer technology pathway.

If approved by voters, the program would also require a capital project, which would consist of renovating the Newman Street District Office into a P-TECH campus. However, because P-TECH is an Erie 2 BOCES program the local share of the capital project would be covered through a lease agreement. The project would also allow S-GI to receive state aid on district office work once it is a student-occupied building.

The partnership with BOCES and Alfred State was proposed to the district late last year, and since, superintendent Kimberly Moritz has championed the idea.

“I believe we’re the perfect community for this,” Moritz previously said. “I’d be delighted to have this for our students.”

At the March 20 board meeting, district resident Joan Kelly asked questions regarding the program. Her concerns centered around the logistics of staffing the building, who would be picking the students to attend and the availability of the building to the community.

“How will students be selected [to attend]? Who is making that choice?” Kelly asked. “My concern is the rich will get richer.”

She raised concern with the replacement of the staff – who will be moving into the middle school – and if that means the district will be doing away with the home and careers program. Kelly also asked Moritz, who has called the project a community building, which organizations would be able to use the building.

“There are students who don’t get the education at home,” Kelly said. “And who is making the decision on [which organizations] get to use this building?”

Later in the meeting, Moritz explained her idea is to be able have the building double as an adult education center, and not for community events. She noted, too, that adult education wouldn’t be until father down the road. The district would “cross that bridge” when they came to it, she said, if there is an abundance of students interested in the program.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $14,729,621, however it will be covered by BOCES component districts and the lease agreement between the S-GI district and BOCES.

“I know I’ve said … there is no local cost to the taxpayer,” Moritz said. “However, we are one of the 27 districts who will be covering the payment. But if this building is in another district, we’d still be covering this cost. It’s in our community and that’s been important to me since the beginning.”

The board also approved the 2018-19 budget of $38,823,186. The budget is an increase of $1,981,275 over last year, which Business Official Maureen Lee said is from an increase in special education students and BOCES costs, as well as contractual and health insurance increases.

The budget will also be proposed to voters in May. The final proposition will be the purchase and financing of school buses and related equipment in the amount of $859,977. The proposal is part of the district’s bus replacement plan, and includes three 16 passenger buses and seven 66 passenger buses.

The board will next meet April 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the high school library and media center. There will be a public budget presentation at the May 1 meeting. The annual school vote is May 15.

For more information on the P-TECH program or the district’s budget, visit SpringvilleGI.org.

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