Peekskill school officials are encouraging more students to take advantage of the programs offered by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) while balking at a suggestion that the old occupational education shops at Peekskill High School be reactivated.
In the aftermath of an April 24 presentation to the Board of Education by six of the 76 Peekskill students enrolled at the BOCES Tech Center in Yorktown, Superintendent of Schools James Willis is urging guidance counselors to encourage students to consider the center’s 40 programs in career technology and occupational education. The district is planning an informational bus trip to the center, an open house for parents of prospective BOCES students and a presentation in Peekskill by students from BOCES’ New Visions program.
Board member Douglas Glickert asked whether it might be cheaper to restore the old shop space in the high school, which is now used primarily for storage, and offer such courses locally instead of sending students to BOCES. Board President Joseph Urbanowicz repeated his previously voiced interest in offering occupational education to students not wishing to travel to BOCES. “What can we do for them here?” he asked.
Willis said it would be expensive to reactivate the shops and purchase equipment, “which we don’t have the money to buy.” Carmine Crisci, director of facilities, added that the space had not been used for its original purpose for a dozen years or more. If the space is reclaimed for shop use, he said, it might be necessary to transfer the stored materials to external containers.
Other board members were not supportive of re-establishing the Peekskill shops.
“Why duplicate BOCES because some kids don’t want to travel there?” asked board Vice President Fran Feuerman.
“The reality is we can’t afford it [re-establishment],” board member Marcela Bobe said. “It’s not like the kids have no option,” she added; they can enroll in the BOCES programs. She suggested that the district determine what student interest might exist in local courses instead of courses at the Tech Center.