By Jennie Acklin

A “nightmare” was the only word ECS Supt. Mark Ward could use to describe the recent issues with the phone lines. Ever since last Friday, Dec. 2, the ECS telephone lines have been out of order. Verizon provides the equipment services, and Windstream provides the lines. Verizon originally told ECS that the problem was due to mice in the phone connection box. Some service was temporarily restored on Monday, but that was short lived, and phones were non-existent all day Tuesday.  Ward resorted to leaving messages for staff and parents via cell phone service. All parties expect service to be restored immediately.

In other news, Ward announced the creation of two new plaques for “Athletes of the Year,” to include all male and female athletes going back as far as 1971. (It wasn’t until 1982/83 that female athletes were considered for the yearly recognition.) All awardees will be listed, and updated every year from now on. Plaques will be purchased from Mongillo Jewelers of Salamanca, and engraved with the new additions annually.

Another plaque will be created for the 1992 football field dedication to Ray Grey. Ward said that ECS never acknowledged the dedication with a plaque, and they would be ordering that one as well, to be installed when weather permitted outside.

Spanish teacher Jamie Edwards made an impressive presentation to the board, proposing a student trip to Costa Rica in February 2018. Explorica Tour Company has provided Edwards with detailed itineraries, costs, and pertinent details. Edwards presented the many cultural opportunities available to students traveling to this country, which could include touring an organic farm, a craft village, a pineapple plantation, an eco-tourism park,  a volcanic location and a rainforest canopy tour, just to name a few. Students could also have the opportunity to do community service at a local school and other volunteering activities.

“It would be a very active trip where students would be doing things, not just visiting museums, galleries, churches,” explained Edwards.

The estimated cost of a 9-10 day trip is $2,600 per student. A $200 discount is offered if a minimum of 15 students sign up and provide a deposit before Dec. 31, 2016.

Edwards is in favor of fundraising by the students, but ultimately encourages each participant to earn their trip money by working small jobs, such as around-the-house help to family members.

The Board of Education approved the plans of the proposed 2018 trip to Costa Rica, if enough interest is received by the deadline.

In other business, Randy Wiser was approved for the permanent position of Maintenance Mechanic, retroactive to Nov. 3, 2016.  Also, Katie Taylor was approved for the position of Assistant Athletic Director, and 10 Odyssey of the Mind coaches were approved for the 2016-17 school year.

The next meeting of the ECS Board of Education is Jan. 10, 2017 at 7 p.m.