By Jann Wiswall

Summer is hiring season at Ellicottville Central School as new and open positions are filled, replacements are found and substitutes are lined up.

At its July 21 meeting, the School Board approved hiring Melanie Van Wicklin as its newest tenure-eligible, full-time middle school teacher. Van Wicklin, who holds a Generalist in Middle Childhood Education certificate and a Students with Disabilities Grades 1-6 and 7-12 certificate (pending), also will work with special education students.

The board approved hiring four full-time teacher aides for the 2015-16 school year: Catherine Dunkleman, Nicole Rust, Katherine Benatovich and Annette Auteri.

Chelsea Cole and Christina Grant were approved for two part-time teacher aide positions. And Jenna O’Connell was approved to fill a long-term substitute teacher position while middle school teacher Elizabeth Weber is on maternity leave.

The District is still interviewing candidates for two long-term substitutes and a teacher aide for a special education student.

The board also approved five new textbooks, four of which are for three new JCC-level business courses being introduced this year. The new books include American History for grades 7-8 and the following titles for the JCC-level courses: Foundations of Business; Focus on Personal Finance; High School Financial Planning Program (modules 1-6); College Accounting (chapters 1-12).

In other business, Superintendent Mark Ward reported that, based on the latest information from the county, the expected tax increase for the 2015-16 school year will be roughly 2.37%, which is much lower than expected due to higher District property assessments.

Ward also reported that progress on the school’s various construction projects is impressive. Wall and floor tiling is under way, the gym floor is being installed, roofs are being repaired, ventilation in the Elementary wing has begun and equipment is being delivered. In addition, construction of the new vestibule at the south entrance has begun.

Ward predicts that much of the new space could be ready for occupancy by the start of the school year.

Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller reported that 12 students are taking 18 summer school classes this year and 30 students are signed up for Regents Exam review classes in preparation for retaking exams in August. Some students are doing the review course in order to pass certain subjects for the first time; others are working to improve their scores.

The next meeting of the School Board will be held on August 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library.