BOCES names board president

JOHNSTOWN – The Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Board of Cooperative Educational Services Board of Education members were sworn in at a reorganizational meeting Wednesday and also adopted the budget for 2013-14.

The only nominees for the two available seats on the HFM BOCES board were incumbent Joanne Freeman, who resides in the Greater Johnstown School District, and Harry Brooks, a resident of the Broadalbin-Perth Central School District.

Both were approved by the member districts’ boards and were appointed to the BOCES board during the meeting.

Freeman made a motion during the meeting to elect David Edwards as the new president that was seconded by member Jean LaPorta.

Edwards, who last year was vice president and has served on the board for about 30 years, said he is honored to be chosen to lead the BOCES board this year.

“It shows the faith the rest of the board has in me,” Edwards said about being elected.

Freeman was chosen to be the new vice president of the board.

Freeman, who has served on the BOCES Board for three and a half years and also served on the Johnstown school board for six years, said she is honored and privileged to be given the opportunity to be vice president.

The previous president of the HFM BOCES Board of Education, Robert Townsend, announced earlier this year that after 15 years on the board, he would not seek re-election.

“Dave’s experience speaks for itself, and Joanne and I have been working together on lots of different things, so I’m pleased to have them both in the leadership positions,” HFM BOCES Superintendent Patrick Michel said.


The board also unanimously approved the total budget for the 2013-14 school year after the reorganizational meeting.

The total budget is about $33.57 million. The largest expense is for special education, totaling about $14.1 million. The administrative portion of the budget is about $2.4 million, which is about a 2 percent increase from last year.

That 2 percent increase in spending will be covered by the districts that use BOCES. The administrative budget was voted on and approved by the 15 districts’ boards in April.

Michel said BOCES was able to limit the increase to 2 percent because it was able to change the health insurance plan for retirees to allow a total savings of almost $200,000.

Michel said BOCES had such are large increase in special education services this year it will be opening three or four new classrooms to meet the demand.

“The demand went through the ceiling this year,” Michel said.

The BOCES district paid about $1.17 million for the health services provided to retirees this year and is projected to pay $973,615 for next school year.