By Jann Wiswall

Only five school district residents attended the public hearing on the Ellicottville Central Schools 2014-15 budget on Tuesday, May 13. But, those who did, heard a thorough presentation by Superintendent Mark Ward describing how the board developed the budget, what was cut this year, a summary of new spending, an analysis of budget trends and the impact of the proposed tax increase to support the school and the first year of expense related to the school renovation project.

Most of Ward’s presentation was a recap of the contents of the May ECS school newsletter, in which the district provided an in-depth series of charts, tables, graphs and narrative highlighting expenses and revenues in all categories. You can view the entire newsletter and get a preview of the ballot at and click on “Newsletter” in the far left column of the home page.

Ward also explained the state’s plan to reimburse taxpayers for any increase in school tax as long as a district stays within the 2 percent tax cap. Most full-time residents of the ECS district should receive a full refund, he said.

Ellicottville resident Nancy Rogan thanked Ward and the school board for its hard work preparing the budget.

“You’ve done, and always do, such a good job on this difficult task,” she said.

Following Ward’s presentation, school board candidate Nicole (Niki) Klein introduced herself, saying she is eager to work with the board over the next five years.

“I believe in the public school system,” she said, adding that, after living in and observing the public schools in Colorado, she came to appreciate the “great school system” in New York even more.

Next, Michelle Golley Cortez introduced herself, saying she is running a write-in campaign for a seat on the school board. Cortez recently moved back to the area from New Mexico to be closer to family and to give her children the opportunity to attend her alma mater, ECS. (See story page 4)

School Board Chair Roger Spell took a few moments to thank retiring school board members Steve Crowley and James Wiley for their long and dedicated service to the board of education and the entire Ellicottville School District. Crowley has served on the board for 15 years; Wiley has served for a record 29 years.

The budget vote and school board election takes place next Tuesday, May 20, 1–8 p.m. in the elementary school foyer.