ECS Board Adopts Budget
Wrestles w/ Low State Funds but keeps Taxes Low
Story by John Thomas
School Superintendent Mark Ward addressed the school board about budget matters at their meeting Tuesday night. He said he had sent a letter to State Assemblyman Joseph Giglio and State Senator Cathy Young informing them of the “budget crunch” in Ellicottville. Superintendent Ward said he wanted to educate them on how hard it is to put together a budget for the school. He said the ECS district receives only $26,000 from the state, saying “It’s a joke.” Ward added that school taxes in the Ellicottville School district are much lower than surrounding communities. For example, he said, a $100,000 assessed home in Ellicottville pays $1,496 in taxes. The same value home in Springville pays $1,900, and in Olean would pay $2,345. The Superintendent said with the failed passage of the Health Care Reform Act in Washington, Medicaid funding from the federal government would remain at present levels; which should preserve state funding for other programs. He said the board “will continue to fine tune the budget,” and turned the meeting over to the budget committee to present the 2017-18 school budget.
The Budget Committee consisted of two members of the board, Amee Kilby, and Bill Murphy. Ms. Kilby introduced the budget. She said overall the expenditures had increased 3.5%, while revenues are projected to remain the same. She outlined savings or reductions in various line items, salaries for business administration will go down slightly, telephone costs will decrease as the school switches to a voice over IP system from BOCES. Some of the building and grounds positions were re-aligned, saving some money, and there will be some savings by switching health care insurance providers. Some costs are going up. Some teacher’s and coach’s salaries are going up a bit. The district will purchase some new computer and smartboards, and will lease new instruments for the music department. The requisitions for the science department have increased a bit, and new supplies and materials will be purchased. The district plans on purchasing two new security cameras for the school busses. In total the school budget for the 2017-18 school year is $12,319,921. In summarizing the budget Superintendent, Ward said, “It’s a pretty good budget, it’s fair, a budget we can live with.”
In other business, the board approved presenting the movies Hotel Rwanda to the English 12 classes and Women in Gold to students in the JCC Drawing classes. Both movies are rated PG-13. The board approved hiring Donna McVaugh as a substitute teacher and Joe Schultz as substitute cleaner. Ryan Winship was hired as boys modified baseball coach. The approved of Nick Smith and Wayne Marsh as volunteers for the softball team.
Connie Poulin gave the report for the elementary and middle schools. She said very few families had opted out of the state testing. She said some that opted out had done so for medical reasons. The Principal said the tests were challenging, but the students were well prepared. Poulin noted that day there were only two students absent. She said it was a big difference from a month ago when the community was during flu season.
The High School report was given by Bob Miller. He said Alley Reacher had come in first at an art contest at St. Bonaventure. She competed against 300 other students. As a result, she will be eligible for an art scholarship at St. Bonn, if she chooses to attend. Mr. Miller said “excitement is building,” for the High School musical Anything Goes. The show will start this Thursday and run through the weekend. The board went into executive session, and the meeting was adjourned.