By Jann Wiswall
The Ellicottville Central School Board of Education approved a number of motions related to preparations for the March 19 Voter Referendum on the ECS Capital Project proposal at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. These included a resolution to publish a legal notice announcing the vote and “to institute all other procedures required for conduct of the vote and election,” including hiring voting inspectors, an election machine technician and an election machine custodian.
Superintendent Mark Ward also briefed the board on other planned activities leading up to the vote, including a schedule of community meetings (see box) and presentations he will make to various community organizations including seniors groups, the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, the Great Valley Fire Department, and others as opportunities come available. Flyers, artist renderings and other materials will be available for distribution at these events outlining the scope of the capital project and addressing issues of importance to the community, such as “How does this impact me?” Ward emphasized that he would make himself available to any other community organization interested in learning more about the project.
Senior Class Trip to NYC
Senior Class President Will Murphy presented plans to the board for a chaperoned senior class trip to New York City. The trip, which is still in the planning stages, would include charter bus transportation, three nights’ lodging and visits to the Museum of Natural History and the 9/11 Memorial, a tour of Manhattan, a dinner cruise and tickets to a Yankees game. If BOCES grant funding is made available, students may also be able to attend a Broadway performance of “Stomp.” The class is discussing the possibility of a expanding the trip to a four night stay; that decision will be based on costs as well as student interest.
The board was enthusiastic about the educational value of the trip and gave its approval, noting that this would be an experience that students would remember for their entire lives.
In addition to the Capital Project, Ward reported that he had met with Utica Insurance for an annual review of the school’s insurance policies. Insurance costs about $60,000 per year.
Ward also prepared the board to expect a proposal from the school’s Sports Boosters to allow them to produce banners celebrating significant team championships, e.g. the girls’ volleyball team’s 2012 State Championship win.
Ward said that he and Interim District Treasurer Joe Mahar have begun work on next year’s budget and that a first draft would be given to the board in a week or so. Ward said he and Mahar also are reviewing the status of this year’s budget to look at trends and make any midyear adjustments needed.
Ward also said that he is meeting with Cattaraugus County Emergency Services to review safety procedures and the school safety plan. Representatives from the fire department, Sherriff’s office, and the state police will be on hand to review these issues.
The State Education Department now requires schools to apply certain “indicators” in their teaching and evaluation efforts that are audited by the state. Elementary School Principal Connie Poulin described one indicator, “parental involvement,” that the school is documenting using surveys and other means. This particular indicator is related to the involvement of parents with children in special education programs. Poulin reported that the school’s efforts have been successful, judging from the number of surveys returned (to the state) and the quality of responses.
Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller reported that winter weekend had a small turnout mostly due to the fact that all games were cancelled due to weather. In order to raise funds, the Student Council is now looking at holding a St. Patrick’s Day Dance and is brainstorming other fundraising activities that might be held through the rest of the school year.
Miller also reported that 17 students took the Regents exam in January and that 10 of those students passed. Several students were taking the test to try to improve their scores; five achieved that goal – one by 28 points. He also reported that the National Honor Society selection process has begun. Students meeting the academic criteria for the honor will receive paperwork next week. The National Honor Society Banquet will be held on March 25.
Miller also said that the high school cheerleaders came in first place at a Jan. 27 cheer and dance competition.
The next meeting of the ECS Board of Education will be Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library.
Meeting Schedule for ECS Capital Project
Community Informational Meetings
Feb. 12, 7:00 p.m., High School Library
Feb. 27, 7:00 p.m., High School Library
Community Public Hearing
March 12, time and location TBA
March 19, 1-8 p.m., Elementary School Foyer