BOCES pro­gram mov­ing out of Carnegie build­ing

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

Ul­ster County BOCES Su­per­in­ten­dent Charles Khoury ex­pects the P-Tech class will start the week in its new per­ma­nent home at the SUNY Ul­ster satel­lite cam­pus in the for­mer So­phie Finn El­e­men­tary School on Mary’s Av­enue.

At Kingston school board meet­ing last week, Khoury said the re­lo­ca­tion of the BOCES pro­gram from the old Carnegie Li­brary build­ing on Broad­way, now part of the Kingston High School cam­pus, will al­low more room for the tech­nol­ogy-based ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram. “We were run­ning out of space,” he said. “I think we’re get­ting six class­rooms as op­posed to four (in the new lo­ca­tion), and it of­fers all the tech­nol­ogy. We had tech­nol­ogy at Carnegie, but we’ll get a lit­tle faster In­ter­net and a lit­tle more band­width at the com­mu­nity col­lege.”

P-Tech, which has 36 stu­dents from Kingston and 15 from five other dis­tricts in Dutchess and Ul­ster coun­ties, is in its third year. The pro­gram is in­tended to pro­vide grad­u­ates with a high school diploma and as­so­ciate’s de­gree si­mul­ta­ne­ously.

“Orig­i­nally, P-Tech was sup­posed to be for four coun­ties, and still is,” Khoury said. “Ob­vi­ously, trans­porta­tion be­comes an is­sue for peo­ple who live far­ther away.”

Khoury said it was im­por­tant to have the Carnegie build­ing avail­able to start the P-Tech pro­gram three years ago.

“We needed a place and the fact that the ma­jor­ity of stu­dents were coming from Kingston, it was easy (to) cut trans­porta­tion costs,” he said. “It made it more cost ef­fec­tive in terms of op­er­a­tions.”

The Kingston Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, in March 2013, ap­proved an $8,433 lease agree­ment with Ul­ster County BOCES for use of the build­ing from March 21 to June 30 for vis­ual and per­form­ing arts pro­grams, a com­puter game de­sign class and dance classes. Dur­ing the 2014-15 aca­demic year, a $98,473 lease of the space was ap­proved for full-time use by BOCES.

School district of­fi­cials did not com­ment on fu­ture plans for the build­ing. School district Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Padalino was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment Fri­day.

District res­i­dents in Fe­bru­ary 2009 voted 1,887 to 1,302 to spend $3.58 mil­lion to ren­o­vate the Carnegie build­ing, which had served as the Kingston City Li­brary from 1904 to 1978, but had been va­cant since the li­brary moved to a for­mer el­e­men­tary school build­ing on Franklin Street. The old li­brary was later ren­o­vated and re­turned to use in Septem­ber 2011 for high school arts and tech­nol­ogy pro­grams un­til the Ul­ster County BOCES lease was ap­proved.

Sev­eral peo­ple ob­jected to the BOCES lease when it was ap­proved in 2014, with par­ent vol­un­teer Jolyn Safron at the time con­tend­ing res­i­dents had been “be­trayed” and board Trustee James Shaugh­nessy say­ing he only voted for the lease be­cause it would help pay off district bonds for the ren­o­va­tion.

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