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SCHOOL BOARDS TO VOTE ON BOCES BUDGET, REPAIR PROJECTS

The boards of the 22 school districts served by the Cattaraugus-Allegany-Erie-Wyoming Board of Cooperative Educational Services will vote April 25 on a portion of the $52.15 million BOCES budget for the coming school year and a $10 million capital project to rehabilitate the three BOCES centers.

The outlays and other issues were the focus of the BOCES annual meeting held Thursday in the Olean BOCES center.

The $52.15 million spending plan constitutes a 2.96 percent increase from the current budget. More than 95 percent of the budget consists of component school districts' subscriptions to BOCES programs and services.

The April 25 vote will involve the 4.5 percent of the budget consisting of administrative and capital expenditures.

Robert Olczak, district superintendent and BOCES chief executive officer, attributed the budget increase to rising costs for personnel, utilities, employee health insurance and teacher retirement.

"We've enjoyed good support from the component districts, and hopefully we'll continue to do so," he said.

The $10 million capital project will make improvements to the buildings of the BOCES centers in Olean, Ellicottville and Belmont.

The centers, built in the late 1960s and early '70s, are now in disrepair, Olczak said. The original roofs in Belmont and Ellicottville will be placed, along with windows, doors, boilers and heating ventilation and air conditioning units at all three centers. Work previously was done on half of the roof of the Olean center, and the other half will be replaced through this effort.

The project also includes, upgrading electrical system to accommodate various technological equipments in the classrooms. The cost of the project will be divided among the component districts with contributions varying by enrollment. The districts will vote on their contribution within their own budgets.

"Since they were built around the same time, all the buildings are starting to need that kind of work at the same time -- roofs and boilers only last so long," Olczak said. "It can't really be put off or more serious damage will occur."

In the April 25 balloting, the school boards also will elect BOCES board members.

e-mail: esapong@buffnews.com

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