Student Safety Discussed By Falconer School Board

FALCONER — The Falconer Board of Education addressed a slew of developments during a recent board meeting involving student safety, budget proposals, capital projects and new social studies standards.

Corey Markham, social studies teacher, presented to the board with the new standards that New York state is requiring of social studies department regarding regents exams. By 2020, the department will mandated by the state to have transitioned to the new testing style.

Superintendent Stephen Penhollow said the district wants to remain proactive when dealing with the new standards. Penhollow noted that the social studies department at Falconer has been very successful and wants to ensure it stays that way.

“We want to stay ahead of the curve,” Penhollow said.

He noted that school districts have yet to receive much information about the changes to the regents exams. Districts are being given the option in the first couple years of the transition phase to choose between the old test and the new test for global studies. For U.S history, the change takes place in 2020 without a transitional phase prior.

“It will be interesting to see what the new exams look like,” he said.

The board also discussed a $270,000 increase to the proposed 2018-19 budget, as well as the delayed capital project that was approved by voters in the district last May. Penhollow said that phase one of the project was supposed to begin in May, but approval from the state Education Department was delayed. Phase one included installing a new track, but now Falconer will endure one more year with the original track. Penhollow noted that Cassadaga Valley Central School District was open to offer their track to Falconer whenever it was necessary. The superintendent believes work related to the track will hopefully begin in Spring 2019. Penhollow called the current situation a “very long process.”

Despite the delay for the capital project, a $100,000 capital outlay project that was approved by the state Education Department is scheduled to begin during the April school break. That project includes replacing the carpeting in Temple Elementary School gymnasium with a “rubberized” floor.

“It’s ready to be removed,” he said.

In other news, the board briefly discussed a current push for more funding to school funding within New York state. Falconer currently employs two resource officers who rotate hours between each other. Penhollow said their employment is a “big asset.”

Following the Parkland, Fla. shooting, Penhollow said the school continues to look at the district’s emergency preparedness plan for the school and the community.