Planning under way for P-TECH program

GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Enlarged School District is preparing for the implementation of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School program.

During Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Michael Vanyo said the design process for the new P-TECH school is under way.

In August, it was announced a $2.7 million state grant was awarded to HFM BOCES, its component school districts, Fulton-Montgomery Community College and 16 regional businesses. The program will help local students prepare for high-skill jobs – including health care, manufacturing, engineering and technology -and allow them to earn their associate degrees tuition-free from FMCC.

Previously, officials said the program will begin during the freshman year of high school for participating students. It will be possible for a student to obtain both the college degree and high school diploma in the same four years.

Previously, state officials indicated grant recipients will spend the 2013-14 school year recruiting students, building partnerships and training teachers and principals, and they will enroll the first class of students in September 2014.

Tim Plumadore, a student representative to the school board, said he and board President Richard Carlson attended a design hearing for the program. Plumadore said they wanted to make the program different from high school to keep students engaged.

According to Vanyo, the program will include roughly 25 to 50 kids in the first year, drawn from all the schools in the HFM BOCES region.

Vanyo said while they need to recruit at first, if officials get the word out about the program, they may have people jockeying for a spot in the program.

“That is why we have to do it right the first time,” Vanyo said. “If we can build on it, kids in the program can come back and share all those experiences.”

Vanyo said classes in the program would go through the summer and would be open to anyone who felt they could do it.

“It is a commitment,” Vanyo said.

Exemption OK

The school board passed a resolution approving a tax exemption for owners of existing commercial buildings for modifications.

The tax exemption, 485-a, establishes a Residential-Commercial Urban Exemption Program to allow the owners of existing commercial buildings to build apartments and receive tax exemptions.

The 12-year exemption is designed to entice property owners to create residential living space in downtown and commercial areas.

In the first eight years, the buildings will be exempt from 100 percent of the taxable amount of improvements for eight years. In the final four years, the tax-exemption rate would decrease by 20 percent each year.

The cost of converting a space into apartments would have to exceed $10,000.

Both Gloversville and Fulton County previously approved the tax exemption.