CNY school districts respond to safety report from the State Comptroller’s office

Local News

CENTRAL NEW YORK (WSYR-TV) — Two local school districts laying it out on the table tonight after being put on a list by the state Comptroller’s office for not meeting the minimum requirements for school safety.

The Fayetteville-Manlius School District and the Syracuse City School District are among 19 districts audited by the state on this issue over a matter of three years.

The state visited Central New York back in the fall of 2018, both the Syracuse and FM school districts for an audit. Both expecting their arrival–confident in their current plans.

“Certainly the students are the most precious resource. so, we take that pretty seriously,” said Craig Tice, Superintendent of the Fayetteville-Manlius Central School District.

Fayetteville-Manlius had just started its safety task force that year, and Syracuse had its safety protocol training in place. FM even hiring two private companies to assess the schools before state workers paid a visit.

“We want the feedback. I think having somebody independent come in to provide us that feedback hold a mirror up to our performance,” Tice said.

That feedback coming out in a report Thursday, where the Comptroller’s office looked at everything from physical security to building and district safety plans. The state has told the schools they need to do more.

When it comes to the local districts, they say it’s not that they haven’t been doing the training, but they may not have been documenting it in the way the state education department requires them to.

“They acknowledge that exists, they acknowledge that the information sharing exists and all the mechanisms are in place, but it’s a formality of all of that needs to be put into writing,” said Tom Ristoff, Director of Public Safety for the Syracuse City School District.

All issues the districts have claimed are minor, with both working to fix them.

“If there are areas that we should be improving, obviously we welcome that and we’re always looking for an outside perspective. because we do try to put the best programs in place,” Ristoff said.

All districts listed by the comptroller’s office have been directed to open their plans for public comment, adopting complete procedures by September 1.

For more local news, follow Julia LeBlanc on Twitter @JulialeblancNC9.

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