BOCES Business Office relocating to Fredonia’s Wheelock site

A major branch of the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES education collaborative will relocate from its offices at Brocton Elementary School to the Wheelock building on Chestnut Street.

During the Fredonia Board of Education’s meeting Tuesday night at the high school, Superintendent Paul DiFonzo announced an agreement is in the works between the district and Erie 2 BOCES to relocate the Central Business Office.

He also said any renovations required by the CBO will not cost the district any money, as the CBO will pick up the tab for that.

“There’s no work that will need an architect; it’s all cosmetic in nature,” DiFonzo said, citing the removal of sinks and the installation of a cooling system, among other small renovations.

The board did not take action on the agreement during the meeting. DiFonzo, who received the agreement on Monday, wanted the board to read through the entire document before accepting any resolutions about the matter.

“It’s additional rental space, and it’s a five-year commitment with the CBO, so it should be a positive,” he said. “Also, if the need arises in the future, putting the rooms back the way they were will not be a big issue.”

DiFonzo expects the CBO to move into the Wheelock building within the next two to three weeks. He said as a result, the move will not interfere with any school functions or programs.

Started in 2009, the CBO was created to save money for participating school districts within BOCES and increase both accuracy and compliance in school business operations.

Also during the meeting, a resolution was proposed to express disapproval with New York state about overreliance on standardized testing. The resolution would, in turn, be sent to the NYS Commissioner of Education and the NYS Board of Regents. However, because the resolution was vague and not specific to Fredonia, DiFonzo asked the board not to take action on the matter during the meeting, and instead wait for a revision.

“My main concern … is that (the state) has failed to distinguish between large city school districts and their issues and rural school districts and the issues we face,” he said, citing Fredonia’s high graduation rate. “We should write our own resolution, not just borrow someone else’s.”

The board also accepted the resignation for the purpose of retirement from Michael Hirschbeck, effective July 1. Hirschbeck is a school guidance counselor. DiFonzo congratulated him for his service to the school and wished him well in future endeavors.

Tammy Rea also presented her final sports report to the board before leaving her position as athletic director. During the report, she discussed results of the spring sports program within the school.

“(Being an AD) is a job that is thankless and demands many hours and demands understanding and caring about students, coaches and parents and being informed and knowing everything at all times about the sports program,” DiFonzo said. “Tammy has been an outstanding athletic director and I appreciate everything she does for our kids.”

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Rea said.

During her report, Rea announced Fredonia’s rank as fourth-strongest athletic program in western New York once again this year.

Toward the end of the meeting, the board entered into executive session to discuss upcoming and pending negotiations and to discuss its self-evaluation.

The next meeting, which will be the annual reorganizational meeting, is scheduled for July 9 at 6 p.m. in the high school library, instead of Room 636 where it usually is held. The board cited problems with air circulation in Room 636 as the reason for moving the meeting to the library. A regular monthly meeting will follow the reorganizational one.

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