Modified Softball, Baseball To Return To Falconer

The Falconer Board of Education approved the creation of a modified softball and baseball programs during a meeting Tuesday. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

FALCONER — Modified baseball and softball will be returning to Falconer in the spring. At a board meeting Tuesday, the Falconer School Board approved the two teams, and Superintendent Stephen Penhollow updated the board on the district’s current foundation aid from New York state.

Dave Nelson, school athletic director, said 26 students were interested in a modified baseball team and around 15 students were interested in a corresponding softball team. The modified program is made up of seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students. Nelson took a survey of students in middle school and found there was interest in the teams.

With the approval, Falconer will field modified, JV and varsity baseball and softball teams.

“We feel very confident,” Penhollow said of creating the two teams for the 2018 season.

Penhollow said Falconer is equipped enough to field three teams with the amount of facilities on school grounds and within the town. Nelson said there are enough jerseys for both softball and baseball players, and noted that the cost for fielding both teams would be a “minimal cost” of $4,500.

Nelson said in order to ensure the teams will be able to schedule games with other schools that field modified teams, he needed an answer as soon as possible.

“Those games I can cobble up now that I’ve already kind of talked to (other athletic directors),” Nelson said.

Penhollow and Nelson were confident that the program would last longer than just one season due to a large class size coming up in sixth grade.

In other news, Penhollow updated the board on foundation aid that the school will be receiving for the 2018-19 school year. Last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced foundation aid around the state during his budget proposal to much criticism. Penhollow said the increase in foundation aid that Falconer would receive is around $130,000, but with decreases in other state aid the total is much less.

“We’re down about $20,000 in transportation aid and then (we’re) also down about $30,000 in public excess cost aid,” he said.

He told the board that the increase is actually around $80,000 after factoring in the other decreases. He also mentioned that BOCES aid is down as well.

The superintendent was optimistic that with influence from State Sen. Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andy Goodell, state aid will be increased for the following school year for schools in Chautauqua County.