By Ginna Hensel

The Feb. 25 meeting of the Ellicottville Central School Board of Education began with a public comment from Schavon Byroads, a parent of two ECS students. She expressed concern over the modified football situation. With the new regulations coming the Peewee and Midget football, there will be a gap for children in middle school who will not be eligible for any football teams.

“This directly affects my kid. I am here to take a stand so I can tell him I did what I could to change the situation,” Byroads said. “There are a lot of rumors going around about how the situation is being addressed.”

Byroads said for a while it sounded like things had been taken care of. The rumor was there would be an Ellicottville-Franklinville modified team, but now it is uncertain because of budget.

“I am worried that if these boys don’t get the opportunity to play during middle school, they will be sitting the bench in high school because they lack experience,” she said. “I am here for two main reasons. One, to express my hope that this is being discussed. Two, if there is any possibility of some information that is to be released to the public so it’s not just a rumor mill.”  

Board member Shannon Chudy said she didn’t think people understand the impact of aid, saying the district receives about $4.1 million dollars in aid, which is a 6.6 percent decrease from what Ellicottville has seen in the past.

“We get this low aid because of the wealth around us,” she said. “I think about our kids. They are doing so well academically. I feel like our kids and teachers are being punished. I don’t want our kids to have to suffer.”

Chudy said she doesn’t want to say the school can’t have football, French, teachers or other programs because of lack of funds, but the situation is out of the board’s control.

“If we could go to [Holiday] Valley and other business and say we need your support,” she said. “Our kids are working hard, our teachers are working hard and we are doing what we can, but I think it is time to go the wealth and ask for help.”

Board Member Deb Golley echoed Chudy’s remarks, saying she thinks people need to understand how the budget works. Golley said what the district pays taxes compared to what residents pay in taxes does not equate.

“Cap is tough on this district, and because we pay a lot less in taxes, we can’t keep ongoing,” she said. “We really do have a huge issue with the aid we get and with the wealth in our community.”

Superintendent Bob Miller said high property wealth comes with a low tax rate. With a low tax rate, it inhibits the amount the district can take in within the tax cap, he said.

“I think it is important to point out there is a lot of generosity,” he added. “Holiday Valley fives out about 4,000 in scholarships, the alumni association gives out scholarships and etc.”  

IN OTHER BUSINESS, Middle School/High School Principal Erich Ploetz reported the 12-1-2 class, headed up by Kristen Rocco, went to the Great Valley Food Pantry where they spent the day with ECS grad Josh Bower. Bower gave the class a tour of the facility and the kids dropped off some donations.  

Next, Elementary Principal Maren Bush updated the board on the success of the reading celebration. Several field trips were announced for 1st, 5th and 4th grades.

The board also passed a resolution approving the 2020-21 school calendar which will have 186 school days. Bryce Sherrard was approved as a volunteer with the baseball program, Rebecca Ortiz was added to the substitution list and a resignation was accepted from full-time aide Christina Grant.

The next board meeting is scheduled for March 24 at 6 p.m. in the high school library.