SHRUB OAK, N.Y. – The Lakeland School District recently voted to approve the district’s share of the Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES $19 million capital projects plan.
The plan, presented to each of the districts that utilize the BOCES schools for their own students, includes projects done on the roofs, HVAC work, a therapeutic pool in the Pines Bridge/Walden School and a fire alarm/public announcement system at the school services building. BOCES plans to put $900,000 from its capital fund, to offset the $19 million cost, which then leaves the districts paying more than $18 million.
The Lakeland School District approved the funding for the project, without having to bond or borrow for the project. Because of their “healthy cash flow,” and because it is receiving so much money back from BOCES during the time it plans to make payments, it would actually offset a majority of the cost of the project, according to Ray Morningstar, assistant superintendent for business.
"We can only do this because our cash flow is healthy,” he said. “We can only do this because we have a tendency to underspend in our budgets, each year we generate an additional surplus—because of all those things, because we have a healthy aid ration coming back from BOCES, all of these things combined, will allow us to offset that 1.7 million obligation in three years."
Morningstar said the district would take the money it receives back from BOCES and then pay the first two years, for the third year pay back using the money they get back, plus a little bit more. He explained the Lakeland School District’s payment to BOCES might extend to be more like three and a half years of annual payments. He estimated the actual money the district would spend that wasn't just the money it received back from BOCES would be in the ballpark of $200,000 for the last year. BOCES gives the district back money each year because of different scenarios, such as collecting money for a line in the budget that couldn’t actually be used.
"BOCES couldn't just take that money and spend it on capital projects, they needed the districts to do that," Morningstar said. "That's why they have to give us the money and we have to figure out a way to get it back to them, and this way should work for us."