ILION – After ongoing negotiations between the Central Valley School District and Herkimer BOCES regarding the future of the Remington Educational Complex, Central Valley Acting Superintendent Jeremy Rich is recommending that the district lease the building to BOCES for another five years, according to a notice on the district's website.
Back in November, the school boards for Central Valley CSD and Herkimer BOCES were supposed to vote on whether or not BOCES should purchase the building from Central Valley, but the vote was postponed indefinitely and a future vote was expected to be scheduled with the athletic fields excluded from the purchase.
Now, Rich has recommended to the Central Valley Board of Education that the districts enter a five-year binding lease with the option to buy, with the intent that the two districts will vote on a potential sale in the future.
According to Rich, the Central Valley board was considering taking back possession of the building for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years so that Central Valley students could go there while Gregory B. Jarvis Middle School is being renovated as part of the district’s capital project. The Remington building currently houses Pathways Academy and other Herkimer BOCES offices, which would be displaced if Central Valley put off the sale for two years in order to temporarily reclaim the building, as Rich initially believed they should.
After meeting with BOCES administration, Rich learned more about the situation, and he expressed in a letter to Central Valley staff the importance of Pathways Academy.
“We became partners with our component districts, sharing the responsibility for the care and education of these kids – whether they wear the blues and yellow of Central Valley or the purple and white of West Canada Valley,” Rich said in his letter to staff. “As educators, I know we all take that responsibility seriously. We believe in all children and cannot be tempted to draw lines determining which children deserve opportunity and which do not.”
Rich says that if BOCES chose a new location altogether for their facility, it would be a financial “disaster” for Central Valley.
“We would own a building, which by the deed, can only be used by a school or municipality," Rich said. "We would need to mothball the building at a cost of $96,000 until we could dispose of it. As the largest component district, we would be responsible for the largest share of any BOCES capital project – even a modest project is expected to cost $4 million. And all of this while our incentive aid drops $440,000 each year.”
Rich closed his letter to staff by saying:
“Now I come to the hardest part. I must ask for your help seeing us through the next two years. In my time here, I have watched you do amazing things for our students. You have shown me you are hardworking and resourceful. You stand up for our students, our parents, and each other. Together we can make this happen.”