By Jann Wiswall

The ECS Board of Education was treated to three student presentations during its Jan. 26 meeting. All three presentations were about school-sponsored trips.

The first presentation came from junior class president Jenna Aldridge who is planning ahead for the senior class trip in 2017. Aldridge asked the board for its feedback on a proposal to do a more expensive class trip to one of four locations: New Orleans, Miami, San Antonio or New York City. The trips requiring air travel, she said, would run in the $1200-$1300 range. The NYC trip would be about $700.

Aldridge said that, with more than a year for fundraising, she thought the class would be able to raise significant funds to reduce costs to each student. She also said the travel company will allow students to spread the cost of the trip out over many months.

“The class is willing to work hard to fundraise for it,” she said. “It’s a strong goal and something to look forward to.”

The board complimented Aldridge on her presentation but expressed concern that, even with fundraising and student contributions to the monthly payments, the cost could be prohibitive for a lot of families, making it difficult to include a large percentage of the class in the trip.

Superintendent of Schools Mark Ward asked Aldridge and other class leaders to think about whether the goal is to include most students or to do a more extravagant trip. He and Principal Bob Miller asked if parents had been consulted on the idea. Aldridge said they had not yet polled parents.

The board agreed to work with the class and to, perhaps, come up with alternate plans that would be more inclusive.

The second presentation came from students from the school’s Music Association/Drama Club, which is planning a June 2016 trip to NYC to see a Broadway musical, visit the 9/11 memorial and do some other sightseeing. Band, chorus and drama club participants in grades 9-12 are invited to participate. The expected cost of the three-day, two-night trip is $550. The Music Association will cover $50 per student and Principal Miller is seeking BOCES assistance to reduce costs.

The board approved the trip.

Finally, class of 2016 president Lindsay Robinson presented a proposal for this year’s senior class trip, which, she said, “is a closer, more cost-effective, two-day, one-night trip to Pittsburgh.” The cost of $375 per student includes a trip to the zoo, a dinner cruise and an evening cable car ride on the first day and a whitewater rafting trip on day two.

The trip was approved by the board.

Superintendent’s Report

Ward covered a lot of ground in his report to the board, beginning with a presentation of New York State School Boards Association leadership awards to board members Roger Spell and Carl Calarco, who each have completed extensive course-work through the Association.

He also reported that:

2016-17 state aid estimates for ECS are lower than hoped. He said that schools throughout the region are enlisting the support of state legislators to help convince the legislature and Governor Cuomo to allot more money to schools.

The district has been rated fiscally healthy by the state thanks to the board’s years-long efforts to plan ahead. “We are considered to be in good stead,” Ward said.

ECS also remains in strong academic standing.

The capital project continues to wind down. The old school bell and clock will be installed at the main entrance soon and lockers for the locker room are expected to be delivered in March.

The Ellicottville Sports Boosters installed banners in the gymnasium. The board thanked the Boosters, and Debbie Golley and Todd Palmatier in particular, for their multi-year efforts to raise funds, gather data and arrange for production.

West Valley Central School’s board and administrators and ECS are scheduling time to meet to talk about possible annexation with Ellicottville.

Rebecca Nannen has been hired as a new English teacher for grades 7-12. Nannen, who will join the staff within the next 30 days, holds two master’s degrees. She currently works at Salamanca Central Schools.

Tim Duchane, a parent and volunteer vice president of Ellicottville Youth Basketball, asked for permission to store specially made youth-sized basketball nets and backboards at the school. He also asked for permission to let teams, made up of first and second graders, to play games in the varsity gym when it is available. Ward said he will work out these details with Duchane.

Duchane, who also plays on the ECS Alumni Basketball team, asked about making arrangements for the league to play at ECS. Ward said that the team would need to buy insurance and would need a school staff member to be on site, but that he would work with the Duchane on this request as well.

The next meeting of the Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, February 9 at 7:30 in  the high school library. All are welcomed.