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Voters to decide on OCM BOCES property purchase

Voters who live within the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES region, which includes the Fayetteville-Manlius School District, will be asked to decide Nov. 19 if BOCES should end its 32-year lease for its Liverpool campus and purchase the facility for $12.85 million.

The purchase would result in no additional costs for the 23 school districts that participate in shared services through OCM BOCES, OCM BOCES Deputy Superintendent Colleen Viggiano said. Based on a financial analysis of the proposal, the purchase could save districts an estimated $2.2 million over the next 20 years, she said.

The campus offers 83,600 feet of space on 15.6 acres and houses numerous special education and innovative education programs.

“Crown Road Campus is home for many of our students, including those with special needs, who have benefited from having a well-maintained and well-designed facility that offers an optimal environment for learning,” Viggiano said.

OCM BOCES considered purchasing the site after the owner, ATRAP Corp., received a separate purchase offer this past summer for $12.85 million.

Under its lease agreement, OCM BOCES has the “right of first refusal,” a provision that gives BOCES the right to buy the property before the owner can consider other offers. This provision created an opportunity for OCM BOCES administrators to conduct a formal cost analysis that examined three possibilities for the campus: continuing to lease, purchasing the building, or building a new school.

OCM BOCES shared those results with a group of school superintendents and business officials from across the region.

“We discussed our findings and agreed that the purchase of Crown Road would not only offer the least expensive option, it would save districts money and result in the best return on investment by discontinuing lease payments that could stretch far into the future,” Viggiano said.

At the same time, students would continue to benefit from a spacious and conveniently located school that offers regular classrooms, three activity rooms, sensory rooms, a full cafeteria, a playground and rooms for related services, she said.

The next step requires OCM BOCES to conduct a public referendum for qualified voters who live within its 23 component districts: Baldwinsville, Cazenovia, Chittenango, Cincinnatus, Cortland, DeRuyter, East Syracuse-Minoa, Fabius-Pompey, Fayetteville-Manlius, Homer, Jamesville-DeWitt, LaFayette, Liverpool, Lyncourt, Marathon, Marcellus, McGraw, North Syracuse, Onondaga, Solvay, Tully, Westhill and West Genesee.

Voting information

Voting will take place 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 19 at four locations:

  • Crown Road Campus, 4500 Crown Rd., Liverpool;
  • OCM BOCES Main Campus, 110 Elwood Davis Rd., Liverpool;
  • Thompson Road Campus, 6820 Thompson Rd., East Syracuse; and
  • Cortlandville Campus, 1710 NYS Route 13, Cortland.

To be eligible, voters must be a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years old and a resident within an OCM BOCES component district for at least 30 days prior to the referendum. Residents do not have to be formally registered to vote, but they will be asked to show proof of residency.

Syracuse city residents are not eligible to vote because they are part of the New York State Education Department’s “Big Five” cities, rather than OCM BOCES.

More information about the referendum is available online.