Falconer To Be 1 To 1 District

The Falconer Central School District will be a one to one district in grades 3-12, meaning each student will have a district laptop to use while at school. Using funds from the Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA), the district and previously approved capital projects, Falconer is preparing its infrastructure to support its goal of becoming a one to one district. P-J photo by Jordan W. Patterson

FALCONER – The Falconer Central School District is looking to become a one to one district in terms of providing technological device for each of its students in grades 3 – 12.

Specifically tailored for Google Chromebooks, school officials said students in the targeted grades will all be given a device to use throughout the day by the fall.

Using funding from the Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA), legislation approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2014 to provide funds to schools for technology upgrades, Falconer will be improving its infrastructure to prepare for its goal of becoming a one to one district. Additional funds from the district and previously approved capital projects are being used for infrastructure upgrades as well.

At Tuesday’s board of education meeting, board members approved its SSBA Smarts Schools Investment Plan totalling $173,584.26. This is the first proposal within the amount of money allocated to Falconer under SSBA. Overall, the district was approved for $1,108,739.

In 2014, Cuomo proposed the initiative with the goal of investing $2 billion into school district throughout the state specifically for educational technology and infrastructure purposes.

Terry English, Falconer district technology coordinator, along with Stephen Penhollow, Falconer superintendent, discussed with board members about the current investment plan.

A hearing regarding the plan was held prior to the regular meeting Tuesday.

The investment plan, described as focusing on “infrastructure needs,” will still need to be approved by the state before funding is provided to the district for items included in their proposal.

The district is also in the process of purchasing 272 Chromebooks this summer on top of the already 172 laptops it already has in support to support its initiative.

Initially, the devices will be kept in school with students picking up and dropping off at the beginning and end of the school day.

English said much of the focus of the current SSBA proposal will be on “ethernet switches” in order to support a district that plans to become one to one with Chromebooks.

Other purchases included power cords and cables to help support the district’s technology infrastructure. He said the second proposal will look to begin replacing district smart boards that are close to a decade old in the near future.

In other news, Penhollow said current construction at the middle/high school and its elementary schools is still “on schedule.”

The superintendent said the all-weather track and field construction is still set for a Aug. 31 completion date. The project totals $22.9 million. An additional $100,000 capital outlay project is underway as well.