District's Long Island PR Firm is Part of BOCES Contract

Briarcliff uses Syntax for public relations through an agreement with Western Suffolk BOCES.

The Long Island public relations firm providing services for Briarcliff Manor schools is doing so under a contract with the Western Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services. 

While the Board of Education passed a resolution Nov. 7, 2012 agreeing to use Syntax Communications Group for public relations, the actual contract—signed Nov. 13—is with the Long Island BOCES.  

That's because Western Suffolk BOCES contracts with Syntax for "technical support" for the PR services it provides to districts.

"We are allowed to purchase services through BOCES," said Stuart Mattey, the district's assistant superintendent for business and technology.

There are 37 boards of cooperative educational services in New York. Sharing services such as vocational education programs, purchasing and staff development, school districts can realize savings and receive state aid. Briarcliff is a member of Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES. School districts may cross-contract with BOCES other than the BOCES with which they are affiliated. 

School officials, elected or appointed, have been deflecting questions to Syntax about the ouster of Superintendent Neal Miller and the promotion of Briarcliff High School Principal Jim Kaishian to interim superintendent as of July 1.

The $30,570 contract through Western Suffolk BOCES is for a year's worth of services including "a comprehensive school public relations program" and training for in-district staff and/or board members to help them build such a program.

Gargamel February 02, 2013 at 01:01 AM
THANKS Patch! At least someone had the guts to check it out. How many other school districts in Westchester do this? It is one thing to share services about insurance or labor issues but a Long Island PR firm representing a Westchester School district seems a stretch. But then again with all the problems in LI schools, maybe they are tops in theri field!
McKey Rivers February 02, 2013 at 05:18 AM
Kudos to the Patch on following up on the eastern Long Island PR firm and bringing the information to the public. In the past the Briarcliff School District has utilized the Northern Westchester Putnam BOCES for public relations services like preparation of press releases and newsletters reporting on school district activities. Retention of a firm like Syntax is done for special projects like presentations to the community on large bond proposals such as was done in 2001 for the vote on the $48 million dollar bond. Syntax was likely retained because the School Board intends to present a budget in excess of the 2% tax cap for vote by the public in a year when the term of the Board President and a Member expire.
McKeyMouse February 08, 2013 at 02:58 AM
The PR firm was discussed publicly and voted on months ago - and necessary given the PR mess this current board inherited. The Patch did not bring anything out to the public that wasn't already there. Shocking you didn't know this since you have such a historical knowledge about the Briarcliff district that only someone who has been around awhile would have. Regardless, such ad hominem comments by you are damaging.


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