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ECS board hears good and bad


November 30, 2011

Before receiving more distressing news about the school budget, members of the Eldred Central School District’s (ECS) Board of Education received a special gift of music at their meeting on November 10. The spirited performance by ECS’s own “Key Elements,” an a cappella group comprised of students in grades 8-12, brought smiles all around, despite the fact that the music program may be one of those facing cuts in upcoming months.

The board heard the presentation “Contemporary A Capella in the Choral Classroom” by Justin Glodich, K-12 choral director in the ECS district and director of Key Elements. Glodich detailed some of the positive effects of contemporary a capella, including improved aural awareness, increased student participation in choral programs, accelerated ear training and sight-singing skills. Glodich also discussed vocal percussion, the art of creating sounds with one’s mouth that approximate, imitate, or otherwise serve the same purpose as a percussion instrument and announced that Key Elements is preparing to record a 10-song album.

The ECS music program has entered a national contest sponsored by the television show Glee and the National Association for Music Education to compete for potential grant money. “Out of 496 videos in the country, Eldred had the 60th most votes,” said Glodich. “Within our region, 76 videos were submitted and we finished 20th so far.” The ECS video has moved on to the next round of judging and could potentially win up to $50,000.

Later, board president Doug Reiser reported that he, ECS school business administrator William Thornton and ECS superintendent Robert Dufour met with Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Senator John Bonacic to “point out the anomaly that our district represents, in terms of the two percent tax cap.”

Reiser added, “I don’t know of any other school district that gave back 20% of their tax levy previous to a two-percent tax cap. Nothing was promised, but we were at least encouraged that perhaps we could work something out. The proposals included basing the tax cap on the previous year’s tax levy or allowing the ECS district to pass its budget on a majority rather than a super majority. These would go a long way in helping us work out our fiscal problems.”

Reiser also noted that the Sullivan County School Boards Association will host the Commissioner of Education at its annual meeting at Fallsburg High School on December 13. Dufour then resumed discussion of potential cuts to the budget.