Highland Falls schools will keep West Point students

Parents in Orange County are breathing easier, as the relationship between the Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery Central School District and West Point will remain intact for at least another 10 years.

Looking through his high school yearbook is a blast from the past for Nick Podias.

“Everybody with their 80s hairdo,” he remarked.

But it’s also a reminder of how close-knit Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery schools is, the same district where he now raises his kids in.

“This woman here, her kids are here now,” Podias said. “She was from West Point.”

But the district faced a potential split last year, when the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) put the contract between the district and West Point up to bid, potentially sending the kids whose parents live on base at West Point, to school elsewhere.


What You Need To Know

  • After potentially moving West Point’s kids elsewhere, the Department of Defense Education Activity signed a 10-year deal to keep on-base students attending Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery Central School District
  • The DOD agreed to a 10-year contract with the Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery Central School District
  • District Superintendent Dr. Frank Sheboy says the school could’ve lost as much as 17% of its $36 million budget if this contract wasn’t renewed

“It would hit our community, the Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery community, more so economically than anything logistically,” Podias said.

So Podias was relieved to hear the district and DODEA had settled on a 10-year deal to keep West Point’s kids going there.

“We were relieved,” District Superintendent Dr. Frank Sheboy said, adding that he was confident the contract would get done.

Sheboy said without it, the school could’ve lost as much as 17% of its $36 million budget.

But with a long-term deal finalized, the district won’t have to worry about a seismic change.

“Stability and planning, that affords a lot of that. For families, for individuals contemplating their next move in the military to West Point or what have you, that provides a lot of stability for decision-making,” Sheboy said.

Podias’ son, Tim, is finishing up his junior year at James I. O’Neill High School. He said with all the friends he has that live on base, it would’ve been devastating if they left.

“I didn’t want them to go. I already spent a couple years with them,” Tim Podias said. “I didn’t want to see them go. Spending all this time together, and now we have to see them go out of nowhere?”

Uncertainty almost forced the Podias family to move after decades here. But Tim said this family, his own and the mix of communities at the school district will remain intact. And memories like the one the father and son share will continue to be made.

“You don’t really even care if anyone’s from West Point or Highland Falls-Fort Montgomery or Garrison, you know? You’re just from O’Neill you know?” Tim Podias said.

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