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ECS declines further participation in pre-annex study

WEST VALLEY—The West Valley Central School Board of Education heard an update about the pre-annexation study and its situation with Ellicottville Central School during their Jan. 8 meeting.

At the previous meeting, WVCS Superintendent Eric Lawton reported to the board that ECS felt putting the time to collecting all the information for the pre-annexation study would be prohibitive on their part. ECS said they would be willing to collect information for the financial portion of the pre-annexation study, but asked if WVCS would pay the ECS employees to gather the information over a weekend at approximately $350 for each person.

After speaking with Castallo & Silky LLC Education Consultants and WVCS Business Official Ann O’Brien, the district was able to gather enough information to do the financial portion of the pre-annexation study between WVCS and ECS. Lawton said he contacted ECS Superintendent Bob Miller and told him that they would not need to gather anymore information.

At a meeting Jan. 9, ECS Board President Connie Hellwig read a statement regarding the pre-annexation study. In it, she spoke about doing what’s best for the district and its taxpayers, noting Ellicottville is a “healthy district.”

“Perhaps in the future we may be in a position to join in a comprehensive annexation study, but we politely decline to participate any further in the West Valley study at this time,” the statement read.

The statement pointed to the volume of information requested by Castallo & Silky LLC and the “complex questions” the study document raised. Superintendent Miller would not comment further, only saying ECS is declining to participate in “this current study”

WVCS and Castallo & Silky LLC will present the financial portion of the ECS study, Lawton said, which they were able to find on their own. The presentation for Springville-Griffith Institute will include all the requested information.

During public comment, Michael Frascella addressed the board to thank them for the work they are doing with the pre-annexation study and doing the study with multiple districts to make sure it is most beneficial to everyone.

“Thanks for starting up the talks again with both districts,” Frascella said. “You have to put all the cards out on the table and you can’t go with just one district. I know a lot of people want to do that … just doesn’t make any sense to me. You want all the information on the table to make an educated decision what’s best for our district and our kids so thank you for doing both districts, I appreciate that.”

Along with the pre-annexation study, Frascella thanked the board and the district for the many opportunities they provide to students, ranging from offering more athletics with the sports merger with ECS to college level courses.

“[The sports merger] has gone very well, I’m very happy with it, my kids love doing it,” Frascella said. “I can’t say everybody has had a great experience with it, but my kids have. Anytime we have an opportunity to give our kids anything whether it's with Ellicottville or Springville, as long as the kids get the opportunity, I’m a happy man. My kids have made a lot of friends in Ellicottville, but they still love West Valley. They still want to be here, I still want my kids to be here, but I just appreciate the opportunities they have right now.”

In other news, the board:

– Approved Girls on the Run and Boys on the Right Track for the spring.

– Approved a collection of children’s book for the school library from Edwin Osborne in memory of Janice Osborne.

– WVCS teacher Allison Spencer will be holding auditions starting next week for their upcoming musical “Dear Edwina Jr.” for students in grade 4-12.

The next West Valley Central School Board of Education meeting will be held on Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. in the library conference room.

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