By Jann Wiswall
The Ellicottville School Board met on Tuesday, Jan. 13 for its regularly scheduled meeting following a public hearing on the proposed $925,000 capital project.
The first item on the meeting agenda was an informational discussion with West Valley Central School (WVCS) Superintendent Eric Lawton explaining that the WVCS school board has decided to “join” another school for all of its high school sports. With only 278 students in Pre-K through grade 12, WVCS “can no longer field teams,” Lawton said.
Instead, Lawton and WVCS board chair Michael Frascella explained that the board has held one forum to date, with another planned next week, and that so far the community generally is in favor of the change. They emphasized that no decision will be made without the district community’s ongoing input.
For practical reasons, the board has narrowed down to three the school districts with which it could feasibly work. They include ECS, Franklinville and Springville. Each has logistical and other advantages and disadvantages. They would to make a multi-year commitment with whichever district becomes its partner and then work out all the specifics.
Several ECS board members asked questions about transportation (which WVCS would provide for student practices and games), financial expectations (which would be worked out with the partner school), coaching (TBD, though WVCS likely would eliminate the athletic program and therefore its non-teacher coaches), etc.
ECS was not in a position to make any decision, of course, since the first steps must be taken by WVCS, however, Ward indicated that there could be a good fit with ECS.
ECS board chair Carl Calarco made a point to thank WVCS for the use of its gym this year for ECS basketball.
Renovation Project Progress
Pat McManus from Campus Construction reported that workers are racing to complete installation of the steel structure of the new addition in order to get the building enclosed and the concrete floors poured and cured. Cement blocks are being laid next week. In the meantime, the firm is working closely with the electrical and plumbing contractors to finalize work flow schedules, specifications and processes using 3D technology in order to ensure they can work quickly once the weather improves.
Ward reported that District Treasurer Aimee Kilby has begun looking at 2014-15 actual expenses in preparation for next year’s budget preparation. Ward said that next year’s tax cap will be 1.56%.
He said he will be asking the board to consider adding a business teacher next year in order to be able to offer some new classes and an additional elementary school teacher in order to have three Kindergarten and three 1st grade classes, assuming enrollment stays steady. In addition, Ward hopes to add a special education room in the middle school next year.
The ECS Board will meet briefly on Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 8:15 p.m. (after the polls have closed for the capital project vote) in order to take any action needed based on the election results. The next regular meeting of the board will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library.