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Forestville retains resource officer; adds social worker

Photo courtesy of the Forestville Central School District Deputy Brian Hanner high-fives a student at a school assembly held at the Forestville Middle/High School auditorium earlier this year.

FORESTVILLE — Earlier this school year, the Forestville Central School District proudly celebrated its School Resource Officer, Brian Hanner, as he was named the School Resource Officer of the Year in New York State at a winter conference in Albany. A school assembly was held in his honor at the Jeff Gelbein Auditorium at Forestville Middle/High School.

Moving forward, the District will support the School Resource Officer program for at least another year. At a recent meeting, the Board of Education approved an agreement with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, of which Hanner is employed, through the 2025 school year. The one-year agreement is in the amount of $114,584.81.

“Deputy Hanner has enhanced our district’s security and exceptional personal connections with students, staff, and the community, which have been commendable,” Forestville Superintendent Dr. John O’Connor said after Hanner received his award. “His dedication and commitment to fostering relationships with everyone have truly set him apart. His efforts have not only made our school safer but have also contributed significantly to the positive atmosphere within our community.”

Earlier this year, Hanner said, “I cannot thank Forestville Central School’s Board of Education enough for their continued support, along with Superintendent Dr. John O’Connor and Principals Dan Grande and Shauna McMahon. I look forward to continuing to be Forestville’s School Resource Officer for years to come.”

The District continued to support the needs of its students with another recent agenda item. After including an additional Social Worker position in the now-approved 2024-25 School Budget, the District filled the position at its recent meeting. Shannon Soffel, who holds a provisional certification as a School Social Worker, was appointed to a four-year probationary position commencing on Aug. 28. Soffel will receive a salary of $48,937 based on Step E of the District’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The District also welcomed its newest Elementary Teacher, Michelle Sprague, at the recent meeting. Sprague holds initial certification in Childhood Education Grades 1-6. Sprague will receive a salary of $46,199 based on Step A of the District’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. Like Soffel, Sprague’s four-year probationary appointment will commence on Aug. 28.

The Board also authorized seven budget transfers; appointed 11 employees to the Summer Enrichment Program; approved Jane Scott as a Floater Monitor Aide; and approved Brady Greenough as a Cleaner. Paid leave was awarded to Michael O’Leary and Zachary Bills. Nathan Nobles was appointed as District Treasurer for the 2024-25 school year.

Resignations were accepted from Marissa Graci, Account Clerk, effective July 31; Carla Wienke, School Psychologist, effective Aug. 31; and Ashley Rokitka, Special Education Teacher, effective June 28. Grace Sipos was terminated from the role of Long-Term Substitute, but will remain on the substitute list.

Agreements were also approved between the District and ESI for the Employee Assistance Program in the amount of $3,120; between the District and Stacey L. Lovern OTR/L in the amount of $15,000; and between the District and Tom Bixby, Construction Consultant. A grant agreement with Lakeshore Connections was also approved.

The 2024-25 School Budget of $14,126,058 passed by a vote of 129-32; a vehicle purchase passed by a vote of 129-31; and the District’s $11,875,000 Capital Project passed by a vote of 128-31. Rachel Locke defeated Jessica Tenamore by a vote of 88-55 for the lone vacancy on the Board of Education, replacing President Amy Drozdziel, who chose not to run for reelection after 12 years on the Board.

The next meeting of the Forestville Board of Education is July 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Middle/High School Library.

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