It's been three decades since Champlain Valley Educational Services (Clinton-Essex-WarrenWashington BOCES) has updated its facilities with a major capital project.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, voters will decide the fate of a $29.85 million undertaking at the Plattsburgh and Mineville campuses with a number of projects focused on safety and security of students and staff, including improvements to building entrances, video surveillance, school bus safety and traffic flow.

The capital project would also replace the main campus roof and HVAC rooftop units that for decades have been repaired again and again; Mineville would see new doors and windows, among other improvements.

Also, CVES would purchase and renovate the Plattsburgh Satellite Campus that is home, in part, to Plattsburgh Aeronautical Institute.

That's a smart decision because, at present, it costs about $260,000 annually to lease that location and also space for the Instructional Services Center. CVES would move Instructional Services to the Satellite Campus, no longer pay rent and, according to officials of the regional educational service agency, maximize state aid.

CVES serves 13,750 students in 17 component school districts and communities in Clinton, Essex, Warren and Washington counties. It provides career preparation, special education, instructional services, administrative support and professional development for educators.

CV-TEC in Plattsburgh, just one component of the whole, provides a stellar program, readying students for careers with such offerings as early childhood education, culinary arts and animal science. The kids learn hands-on; the teachers are terrific. 

So, too, is the caring staff in Special Education.

They all deserve the very best facilities, including in Mineville, to support both working and learning.

The capital project has not been sprung on the districts or the public.

Annual building conditions surveys, assembled with the expertise of architects and engineers, kept CVES leaders apprised of the growing need for major upgrades.

Over the course of a year, the Facilities Advisory Committee solicited input. CVES gave presentations at each school district that uses its services and also to many businesses.

A six-minute video shows the poor condition of the Plattsburgh campus roof, windows and doors in Mineville and more. It explains the project and encourages voters to turn out.

Viewers are encouraged to share it so word spreads further. And everyone in the component districts should both watch the video at https://tinyurl.com/y9qeokty, check out further details at www.cves.org/CapitalProject and email questions to capitalproject@cves.org

Not interested? If you're a taxpayer in one of the 17 districts served by CVES, you should be; if you care about the quality of education students receive, you should get out and vote, too.

Qualified voters must be 18 or older, have lived in the BOCES service area for at least 30 days and be a U.S. citizen. 

The project will be paid for by taxes raised in those districts and also state aid. How much you would pay depends on the district where you own property.

Estimated yearly tax charged on a $100,000 property with Enhanced Star would be: AuSable Valley, $6.37; Beekmantown, $6.59; Chazy, $7.98; Crown Point, $6.72; Elizabethtown-Lewis, $5.11; Keene, $1.57; Moriah, $10.21; Northeastern Clinton, $8.61; Northern Adirondack, $7.60; Peru, $8.27; Plattsburgh, $7.34; Putnam, $1.57; Saranac, $8.34; Schroon Lake, $1.71; Ticonderoga, $4.79; Westport, $5.02; and Willsboro, $6.59.

The vote is set for noon to 8 p.m., with polling places in each district — you can vote at any one of them.

Do your homework, then get out and vote.

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