Pine Valley announces vacant school board seat

SOUTH DAYTON — A recent resignation on the Pine Valley Central School Board of Education has left a vacancy that the district is seeking to fill next month. Although the district may have lost a school board member, the resignation actually resulted in an addition to the faculty, which is timely given the fact that students return to school on Tuesday.

At this week’s special school board meeting, board member Shawn Howard’s resignation was made official. Howard was already a familiar face at the district, as he was the technology teacher at the school. He resigned after the 2016-2017 school year to teach at another district for the 2017-2018 school year, which then made him eligible to join the Pine Valley Board of Education. In May 2018, he ran for the board and was elected to a three-year term, which began on July 1.

This week, at the same special meeting when his resignation from the board was officially accepted, he was appointed to his former position as technology teacher. Superintendent Scott Payne looks forward to Howard joining the faculty again, and is pleased that the teaching position was filled prior to the start of the new school year.

“We’re looking at a three-week timeline to fill the board vacancy,” Payne explained. “Whoever fills that vacancy will serve on the board until the school board election in May.” District residents who are interested in the position may send a letter to Debbie Hooker, Pine Valley district clerk, at 7755 Route 83, South Dayton, NY 14138. The deadline for submission of letters of interest is Friday, Sept. 14. After the board interviews all interested applicants, an appointment will be made. The newly appointed member will then serve on the board until the annual vote on May 21.

In other district news, the school board recently voted to approve the establishment of the in-school suspension program this school year. Payne explained, “We currently have the out-of-school suspension program at BOCES and an after-school detention program. We realized that there was a gap between these two disciplinary programs, and ISS could be a good intermediary step to better aid our students.” Payne went on to explain that this particular program, which takes place during regular school hours, will be supervised by a part-time instructor at the district and will begin next week with the start of school.

At a recent regular board of education meeting, Payne shared information about the capital improvement project slated for 2020. This past spring, the school board building and grounds committee began working with an architect and the administrative team to conduct the building conditions survey. Four priority areas emerged from the survey, which began with improvements to the HVAC system.

Another area of focus includes enhancing instructional programming, particularly with agriculture and technology instruction. “Our plan is to bring these areas into the 21st century with upgrades to the space,” Payne explained. Improvements include a greenhouse, a better production facility for the school’s maple syrup operation and more. Safety, another area of focus, involves relocating the buildings and grounds office and business office (currently located in the elementary school) to a non-instructional space, as many members of the public frequent these offices.

The fourth area of focus is the district’s athletic fields, particularly the baseball and football/soccer fields. Drainage at both fields is problematic, and the board is considering their options. Turf was considered; however, at this point, Payne explained that it is cost-prohibitive. “I feel really good that we explored that option, though,” he stated. “Actually, it was suggested by some of our community members, who realized that our climate and sometimes shortened seasons make it difficult to use the fields. Perhaps this is something we can look at down the road.”

On Tuesday at 6 p.m., the Capital Project 2020 meeting will take place. Payne explained that at this meeting, the project committee will consider which projects can be tackled in 2020 and which projects will be accomplished in the next capital project in 2022. Once the scope of the 2020 project is decided this fall, Payne expects a referendum sometime in early December.