By Jann Wiswall
The Ellicottville Central School Board unanimously passed the 2015-16 budget as presented at its meeting on Tuesday, April 7. ECS voters will have the final say on Tuesday, May 19 when they will be asked to vote on the proposition for the basic budget, additional funding for school bus leases and the school’s annual contribution to the Ellicottville Memorial Library.
The basic budget of $11,620,182 is an increase of $555,000 over last year. $180,000 of that will be covered by New York State aid, a welcome increase of $82,000 over last year. The balance will be collected from taxpayers.
While that tax increase comes to approximately 4.2 percent, 2.3% ($155,000) of those funds are to cover payments on the loans for the two capital projects that were approved by voters over the past two years. The remaining 1.9% ($125,000) is what will be collected through property taxes to pay for school business, meaning the school is staying under the 2% tax cap.
Superintendent Mark Ward emphasized that this year’s budget brings with it a very high academic value. Instead of simply adjusting budgets to cover increased expenses, as has been necessary over the past several years, this year the school has been able to enhance school programming.
New items in the budget for 2015-16 include: adding an elementary teacher to the staff in order to be able to offer three sections of Kindergarten and first grade next year; developing our own district-run middle school special education program to meet the educational needs of our students; purchasing 200 new laptops to ensure that all students in grades 9-12 are equipped for the challenges and opportunities ahead of them; and, reviving the school’s business education curriculum in order to expand STEM education, technology basics and, potentially, college-level coursework through Jamestown Community College.
The following is the text of the propositions to be put before District Voters on Tuesday, May 19.
PROPOSITION NO. 1 – Basic Budget
Shall the following resolution be adopted, to wit: Resolved: That the Board of Education of the Ellicottville Central School District in the County of Cattaraugus, State of New York, BE AND IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO EXPEND THE SUM OF $11,620,182 for the 2015/2016 school year budget. The Basic Budget will provide funds for all of the educationally related services and the maintenance of our school building.
PROPOSITION NO. 2 – School Bus Lease
Shall the following resolution be adopted, to wit: Resolved: This proposition will authorize the Board of Education of the Ellicottville Central School District in the County of Cattaraugus, State of New York, to levy an additional (not to exceed) $32,200 to lease 2 (66 passenger) 2016 International School Buses for each of the next five years commencing with the 2015/20156 school year.
PROPOSITION NO. 3 – Ellicottville Memorial Library
Shall the following resolution be adopted, to wit: Resolved: Shall the proposition be approved authorizing the Board of Education of the Ellicottville Central School District to levy taxes annually in the amount of $29,943 and to pay over such monies to the trustees of the Ellicottville Memorial Library.