School Gets Green Light for Capital Project Construction

By Jann Wiswall

James Wiley, who has served on the Ellicottville Central Schools’ board of education for a remarkable 29 years, was recognized for his service with the New York State School Boards Association’s Everett R. Dyer Distinguished School Board Service Award (DSA) at the Tuesday, June 3, meeting of the school board.

The DSA is presented annually to a current or former school board member, who, in the judgment of the NYSSBA Awards Committee, should be recognized for outstanding contributions to public education and children in his or her own school district.

Awardees are considered based on the quality and quantity of the candidate’s contributions to public education. In making its award determination, NYSSBA looks at the “extent to which the candidate’s recognition will inspire other school board members to make similar or even greater contributions. The winner should be a role model for school board members.”

Wiley, who was surprised with the announcement, said he was “humbled” by the recognition.

“It’s been a privilege representing the school and the district,” he said.

“When I first came to the board, our goal was to watch the money — watch it closely. We haven’t been extravagant, and we’re still watching the money. That’s why we’re in such good shape. Things look very promising for the future,” he added.

Capital Project Update

ECS Superintendent Mark Ward announced that the school is, at long last, in receipt of the official building permit from the State Education Department, giving the school the green light to proceed with the capital improvement project. Bid requests have already been advertised and there is significant interest from regional firms. Ward said at least eight general contractors are bidding, which will keep the project competitive. Bids will be reviewed by the board at its June 24 meeting.

Ward said a bond anticipation note of $850,000 will be issued to the school on June 15 to serve as seed money to pay for the first stages of the project, which include asbestos abatement and demolition. Construction is likely to begin in late July.

Ward also announced that the Sports Boosters will be selling one-square-foot sections of the school gym floor to raise funds for its activities and to give people a chance to own a little piece of Ellicottville history.

Superintendent’s Report

In other business, Ward said the school has hired a land appraisal firm to provide a second opinion on the value of acreage owned by ECS between the school and Holiday Valley. He also asked the building and grounds committee to schedule a meeting to consider some options related to revamping the school’s boilers and to look at the cost-benefit of improving the energy efficiency of lighting in certain sections of the school.

He also reported that the June newsletter is almost ready to go out to print and that it features the senior class, top students and the many accomplishments students of all ages have made this year.

Board Actions

The board approved a resolution to enter into an agreement with Erie 1 BOCES to purchase copiers and related equipment through an installment purchase agreement for five years at a cost of $339.49 per month. The board also approved a request for transportation services for the summer 2014 recreation program, hourly rates for the driver’s education teacher for the next four years and hiring Chris Mendell as that teacher for this summer. The board also accepted a letter of retirement from Richard Burkhard effective June 30.

The board also is reviewing purchasing, procurement and instructional materials policy changes, as well as revisions to policies related to the prohibition of weapons on school grounds and the Gun-Free School Act.

In addition, it is reviewing proposed changes to school lunch prices. Ward noted that any increases will be minimal, noting that the goal is to cover rising costs, not to make money.

“We just want to come close to breaking even,” he said.

Principal’s Report

Middle/High School Principal Bob Miller thanked the board and administration for their support during his recent five-week, health-related absence from school. As is the case at the end of every school year, many events and activities are coming up this month, including the year-end sports banquet, the Club Jazz concert, the father/daughter dance sponsored by the Student Council, the BOCES graduation at Pioneer Central School and, of course, ECS graduation.

This is also final exam season, which is moving along smoothly, he said.

The next meeting of the ECS school board will be held on Tuesday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the high school library.