By Jann Wiswall

The Ellicottville Central School Board of Education voted unanimously at its Tuesday, Nov. 18, meeting to approve a $925,000 capital project and to put the proposal before school district voters on Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015.

The proposed project will include repairing two roofs, constructing a new vestibule at the south entrance, improving security at the two main entrances and purchasing and installing audio technology in the new multi-purpose room, stage and adjacent classrooms.

According to ECS Superintendent Mark Ward, the board elected to move forward with the project “in order to maintain our investment” in the $9.8 million capital project that is already underway. Bids on that first capital project (project #1) came in higher than expected, which meant some project #1 work had to be cut.

Project #2 will cover the costs of some of the projects that were cut, plus repair a roof that has degraded in the interim.

As reported last month and in the school’s newsletter, the bulk of project #2 costs will pay for repair of the roof that extends from the south entrance to where it meets the 1988 elementary school wing addition. This roof repair project was eliminated from project #1. Last winter it became apparent that that 1988 elementary wing roof also needs repair.

The project will also include security enhancements at the two main entrances and construction of a new south entrance vestibule for improved safety, visibility and energy efficiency. This was a part of the original project that had to be cut due to high bids.

The last item is completion of the audio/sound system that was originally planned for in the multi-purpose room, stage area and adjacent classrooms.

“This will allow us to conduct the kind of programs that had been planned,” Ward said.

For several practical and financial reasons, the board felt that these projects should be completed while construction of project #1 is taking place, and by combining the projects, the district will be able to save costs by bonding the debt together.

These improvements would only be eligible for state financial aid if they are part of a capital project.

After School Program Expansion

Ward asked the board to consider an expansion of the school’s after school programs for grades K-8. His proposed “five-prong approach” would cost roughly $13,000 and would include:

1. Expanding the current 3-6 “Homework Club” to 7th and 8th graders two nights a week by invitation. This could help students who are on the ineligibility list, as well as students who are struggling and need extra time to devote to their classroom work. It would be staffed by two middle school teachers.

2. Offering the web-based iReady to 7th and 8th graders in the high school library. This could be offered to students in the 7-8 Homework Club noted above and to others, particularly students who do not have the internet access at home.

3.  Adding a third day per week to the grade 3-6 homework club, which currently is offered on two days.

4.  Staffing the elementary computer lab three days a week after school to help students work with iReady.

5. Inviting selected K-2 students to stay after school two days a week to use the iReady in the elementary computer lab.

While details need finalization with staff, the board will be asked to consider formal implementation of the after school plan at its Dec. 9 meeting.

Policy Adoption

The school board approved changes to a number of district policies after reviewing them in detail over the past several weeks. They include policies related to: Appointments and Designations by the Board of Education; Duties of the School District Treasurer; Appointment and Duties of the Claims Auditor; Duties of the School Attorney; Duties of the School Physician/Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant; Quorum; Executive Sessions; Orienting and Training New Board Members; Use of School-Owned Materials and Equipment; Emergency School Closings; Acceptance of Gifts, Grants and Bequests to the School District; Accounting of Funds; Financial Accountability; Audit Committee; Accounting of Fixed Assets; Smoking/Tobacco Use; Information Security Breach and Notification; Safety of Students (Fingerprinting Clearance of New Hires); Health Insurance; Family and Medical Leave Act; Immunization of Students; Student Physicals; Administration of Medication, and; Child Abuse and Neglect/Maltreatment.

These and all other district policies are viewable online under the “Our District” tab on the school’s web site at

The next meeting of the ECS school board will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library. All are welcome.