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Voters Approve BOCES Construction Project

Voters said yes to plans by Oswego County BOCES to renovate its Mexico campus.

The vote was 1,898 to 1,569 in favor of the $35 million plan.

The occupational education campus has not had a major renovation since it opened in 1969. The project will repair and modernize the main BOCES building, while consolidating more than a dozen entrances and exits into a single, secure entrance.

Voters turned down a more ambitions $48 million plan three years ago. Since then, BOCES officials have worked with the county’s nine school districts to come up with a scaled-back plan that addresses the school’s most important needs.

All nine school districts endorsed this plan; many district boards of education refused to endorse the 2008 plan.

The impact on taxpayers varies by school district and by whether the taxpayer receives a partial or full STAR property tax exemption.

You can see details about the project and a chart of possible tax impacts here.

8 Comments

  1. If they had this vote in May with the rest of the school budget votes I bet it would have been shoot down. I guess that’s why they did it now, hoping no-one would show up or notice it. Only 3500 people in the whole county voted, their plan worked.

  2. Mike:

    You may be right about the outcome, but one thing to keep in mind is that May (the day of the statewide school budget vote) is too late for a vote on a construction project.

    Most of these votes happen in the late fall or winter because they fit the timeline of getting a project approved by the state and then starting construction as soon as school lets out in June.

    A May vote would cost the school district a full year of construction and lead to more expensive bids as the cost of everything goes up.

    The other thing to keep in mind: The overwhelming majority of school budgets pass on the first vote. So even if one or two school budgets fails, the other seven or eight that pass can carry the countywide proposition to a yes vote.

    (PS: We gotta get you a mug or something for being a high-frequency commenter — it’s much appreciated!)

    -Dave

  3. Well I would point out that when they did this vote in 2008, they held it exactly eight days after the Presidential election. Why couldn’t they hold it the same day as the nationwide election day, or did they just not want people to vote?

    However the major problem with this vote that I see is that a county resident could vote whereever they wanted and did not have to be a registered voter. These factors combined with the polling locations made it a slam dunk for BOCES administrators. For example voting was held at the Oswego Education Center. The OCSD superintendents and directors and etc. who spend the day at that building are obviously people who tend to have no regard for taxpayer dollars. So they can walk down the hall from their office to cast a yes vote. At least with May elections they need to go to the polling site according to the ward their home is in. There was also a site at OHS where teachers can walk down the hall and vote and they don’t give a flip about tax increases. Then there was a polling site right at BOCES. In between classes, an 18 year old BOCES student could be “encouraged” to stop by and vote yes! They don’t even have to be a registered voter.

    A large portion of the demographic of likely yes voters had a convenient and easy way to vote. However, in order for me to vote no, I first had to remember that the vote was being held, and then I had to drive out of my way on my way home from work and stop by and vote. I did in fact go and vote! But it wasn’t a simple convenience for me like it may have been for so many others!

  4. That was a issue in itself – many people did not know the vote was yesterday. No-one in my office knew it. It should have been front page news in mondays papers. I think BOCES learned their lesson the last time and did not make as much noise about it this time. Just look at the numbers and that should tell you something

  5. I can appreciate a member of the community opting not to support the recently approved Oswego County BOCES capital project. However, I must take exception to the comments that insufficient efforts were made to inform and educate the public about the project and date of the vote.

    Oswego County Today, the Syracuse Post-Standard, WRVO, and WSYR News Channel 9 among other news outlets carried at least two stories about the project and vote.

    In addition, BOCES staff and myself presented to the Fulton Lions, Fulton Kiwanis, Fulton Women’s Club, and Fulton Board of Education about the project and vote.

    Democracy is a participatory responsibility that requires heightened vigilance and voracious reading. I would that our lives are as busy as ever and the news outlets are more diverse, however I will not agree that BOCES sought to ‘hide’ the vote or not inform or educate the community.

    Thank you to those who participated in the vote.

    Matt Geitner
    Fulton Representative
    Oswego County BOCES Board of Education

  6. Matt, you are right, I did hear quite a bit about it among many news outlets. I don’t mean to sound like I believe there was foul play or sneaky motives because I know voting within the schools is the only practical option for something like this. But the likely “yes” voters have the visual reminder right down the hall of their workplace. Private sector taxpayers who don’t always have the financial resources to absorb more tax increases like school teachers/administrators do, could have just as easily forgotten because they have to get through their whole work day! If voting took place at town halls and people had to go to their township of residence to cast a vote, would the results have been different? There is reason to believe that they may have been!

  7. I didn’t say if I supported the project or not – I pointed out that in a county of 122,000 people only 3500 voted. It should have been on the front page of the papers that it was the day to vote . I only remembered because I heard it on the radio (ch92) that morning if I had been listening to 106 I never would have voted. BTW – I went to BOCES for two years it was a great school . I also think there is a bit of poor management out there when it comes to our money, but that is another story.

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