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ELLICOTTVILLE – Ellicottville Central School officials are ramping up talks on merging sports programs with neighboring districts.

“We have been talking about the concept of merging sports,” Superintendent Mark J. Ward, said during a special meeting of the board Tuesday. “We already have merged swimming, track and football.

For the past few years, Ellicottville and West Valley have shared football programs – with diminishing results, officials said, noting a drop-off in the participation of West Valley students in the program.

Ellicottville also is looking at the potential of enlisting the participation of neighboring districts in football and volleyball, said Ward, a former varsity football coach for Ellicottville.

Thus far, he added, discussions with Cattaraugus-Little Valley officials are producing results for a volleyball merger but little hope for football. The move would result in a change in competitive class – a disadvantage to Cattaraugus-Little Valley, he added.

Ward noted, however, that Cattaraugus-Little Valley is right for the varsity volleyball merger.

“Our volleyball numbers aren’t as strong as they have been,” Ward told the board. “We barely had enough to have a varsity team. What we could be doing is have the varsity team at Catt-Little Valley, and each school still have a modified team to keep the interest and talent moving in both districts.”

“Looking at what we have, this is our best option for maintaining volleyball,” he added.

Ward received board approval to continue further merger talks with Cattaraugus-Little Valley as well as the Franklinville School District.

In other matters, the board:

• Approved College Connection OnLine courses with Jamestown Community College.

• Added Heather Snider to the substitute teacher list at a rate of $85 per day.

• Announced that the next meeting of the School Board is at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 14 in the high school library.