By Jann Wiswall

Ellicottville Central School’s board of education met Tuesday, March 17, to review and act on a number of agenda items.

First on the agenda was a presentation from seniors Phillip Kurtis and Noah Butler representing two high school Envirothon Teams. The teams will be competing for a chance to move on to the state competition by making oral presentations on organic farming before a panel of judges. The regional competition is scheduled to take place at Allegany State Park April 22-23.

Ellicottville teams took second place in the competition last year, and Kurtis and Butler, who asked for the board’s permission to stay at ASP overnight on April 22, said they’re confident one of the teams will win first place this year. The teams will be competing against 12 other area schools.

The board approved the request to spend the night in cabins at ASP and wished the teams good luck.

In other business, board member Steve Crowley reported that he attended the Allegany-Cattaraugus Association of School Boards’ legislative breakfast hosted by CA-BOCES District Superintendent Lynda Quick. Quick focused her comments on school funding issues, especially the state’s Gap Elimination Adjustment, which has cost regional schools some $236 million in funding, resulting in the loss of 250 jobs and elimination of numerous programs. Quick asked legislative leaders in attendance to support efforts to restore adequate funding.

According to Crowley, Assemblyman Joe Giglio and Senator Cathy Young both skirted the funding issue and confined their comments on education to the Common Core.

ECS Superintendent Mark Ward reported that he had written a letter to the editor (see below) and Senator Young arguing that Young has not been supporting her constituents in Cattaraugus County with regard to the schools.

Elementary School Principal Connie Poulin thanked the PTO and Diana Olson for their contributions making the annual Dime Carnival a great success. This year, nearly $2,000 was raised.

Poulin also reported that Caitlin Keller’s Division I Odyssey of the Mind team is advancing to the state competition, along with Aimee Kilby’s Division II middle school team. Poulin noted that Coleen Bower is doing an excellent job coordinating the OM effort this year.

Teachers and students are now preparing for the start of state testing after spring break and for next year’s kindergarten screening on May 6 and 7.

Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller reported that the high school’s video production class won first place in a field of 105 entries in a Holiday Valley Safety on the Slopes video competition sponsored by the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA). The video, produced under the supervision of Chris Edwards, has been submitted to NSAA as part of an overall Guest Services competition. The video is posted on Holiday Valley’s web site ( under the photos and videos tab.

Miller also reported that Dr. Stephen Chong, associate professor of computer science at Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, visited Edward’s computer science class and talked with students about ethical programming and other current issues. The students were fully engaged in the conversation and enjoyed talking with someone who works full-time in the field, Miller said.

In an effort to keep the conversation about bullying alive, Miller said the middle school leadership team, made up of seventh and eighth graders, is discussing next steps. Team members proposed doing a survey to gauge student awareness and firsthand knowledge about the subject.

The next meeting of the ECS school board will be held on Tuesday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library.