by Jennie Acklin

The regular meeting of the ECS Board of Education was held Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m.

First on the agenda was the external audit report for the 2011-12 school year, which was presented by Scott Reed of Buffamante Whipple Buttafaro, P.C. Reed went through details of the general fund, the Food Service Fund and the Special Aid Fund, reviewing details of compliance documentation, revenue, expenses, salaries, and cost of goods sold. He stated that ECS is operating at a deficit of $312,000 for the year and that the Fund Balance reserve “saved us.” He said he was “very pleased how the report came together.” Reed stressed how well the Food Service Fund operated, with the smallest deficit ($5,424) in several years.

Superintendent Mark Ward commented, “It is obvious that state aid continues to decrease” and puts a strain on the budget. With a 2 percent property tax increase over the last five years and cuts to the budget of approximately $200,000 this year, the board is working hard to hold budget increases. According to Ward, this year’s budget increase was just $41,000 on an $11million budget.

The next public meeting for the school’s capital improvement project is slated for Tuesday, Oct. 2. The Facility Upgrades and Improvements meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Ellicottville Central School, 5873 Route 219 in Ellicottville, and all community members are encouraged to attend.

“We (the ECS Board) certainly agree that there is a need to upgrade our facilities. The next step is to decide how to do it and how it will get paid for,” said Ward.

Board member Connie Hellwig commented, “The key is to have the public involved. What do they want to see upgraded and improved?” She encouraged everyone to attend the meeting and to be a part of the process.

Under New Business, a donation of a piano and $200 for tuning and repair was made by Susan Drago and was graciously accepted by the board.

Several teachers were added to the substitute teacher list, with appointments contingent upon successful fingerprint clearance from New York State and include Mallory Blakeslee, Jacob Woodarek, Carl Johnson Jr., Lillian Lechner, Jamie Wojtowicz and Chelsea Ellis.

The first reading of 20 school policies was presented, which included updated information for Duties of Extra Classroom Activity Fund Central Treasurer and Faculty Auditor, Charter Schools, Corporate Sponsorships, Public Access to Records, Budget Planning and Development, Purchasing, Smoking/Tobacco Use, School Food Service Program, School Bus Safety, Qualifications of Bus Drivers, Code of Ethics, Equal Employment Opportunity, Safety of Students, Certified Personnel, Professional Certification, Health Insurance, Leaves of Absence, Family and Medical Leave Act, Employment of Retired Persons, and the Unaccompanied Youth and Dispute Resolution policies.

Homecoming Week activities have been going on all week, and the kids have been decorating and getting ready for all of the events, according to Principal Bob Miller. Friday is Spirit Day with a Pep Assembly at 2 p.m., and girls’ varsity soccer game versus Chautauqua Lake will take place at 4:30 p.m. The annual homecoming varsity football game against Sherman is at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Homecoming Dance will begin at 8 p.m.

The next regular meeting of the ECS School Board is Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

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