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Parker School Transition Plan Moves Past Common Council

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The plan to transition the soon-to-close Parker Elementary School into a child care facility used by CAPCO and the YWCA moved one step closer last night.

The Mayor’s Parker School Task Force has been at work for months and is now officially being directed to submit a formal proposal.

Members of the community packed the chambers of Cortland City Hall for a presentation put on by members of the Task force.

The plan passed through the council unanimously, 7-0, and will now be submitted as a formal proposal.

Although there were some concerns:

One of the occupants that originally planned to move in was the Cortland Christian Academy, but it has since pulled out of consideration because of issues with bonds.

Specifically, one of the bonds the team secured to help pay for the school cannot be used by the city for religious education purposes. Cortland Christian Academy had proposed putting 160 children into the building.

Mayor Tobin said last night there is still the possibility of technically selling the building to a third party so the Christian Academy could still use it.

But currently, it’s down to CAPCO and the YWCA for potential occupants. The YWCA is proposing to put 108 children, and CAPCO 24 infants and toddlers and 64 preschool students into the building.

Members of the Task Force included in their presentation before the vote that Cortland County currently only has the capacity to adequately serve about a third of the children who live here.

This plan to expand services for CAPCO, the YWCA and hopefully others in the future seeks to improve on these numbers.

The Parker School transition project, now made official, is expected to cost $460,000 in initial startup expenses, $166,000 in annual operating expenses, and $2 million in capital investment over the next 10 years. The Task Force brought up a variety of grants it may qualify for to help pay for some of these costs.

The next step is the submission of a formal proposal, which if approved will get the ball rolling immediately.


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