Facing a shortfall of nearly $750,000, the Union Local School District is making staff and program cuts for the 2011-12 school year. The district will eliminate five teachers, three aides and one district office employee. In addition, the district will not be replacing a retiring vice principal and resigning teacher.

The shortfall includes a combination of state and federal funds that have been eliminated from next year's budget, including the second year of federal stimulus funds and the discontinued Federal Jobs Bill.

At the May 19 regular school board meeting, the board will vote on the personnel "Reduction in Force" measure, estimated to save the district almost $727,000.

At the April Board of Education meeting, other cost saving measures were also discussed. Superintendent Kirk Glasgow is taking a two-year pay freeze. A pay-to-participate for sports policy was also proposed by Athletic Director Mark Cisar and High School Principal Joel Davia. The district would pay for half of cost of the supplementals. Cisar and Davia said the proposed fee for participation would be $100 per player per sport. The proposal will also eliminate freshman sports, after-school weight room supervision and some clubs will be cut as well. Coaching staff could also be cut at the junior high level.

"I don't agree with pay to participate 100 percent, but we need to find a way to pay for sports," Davia said. "Nobody wants to do it," he continued. "We tried to come with a fee students would pay."

"I don't want to lose kids," Cisar said. "I don't think that will happen if he explain this to parents and players."

In more positive news at the board meeting, FCLA Advisor Nancy Vannest told bold members about a recent state competition at which Ashley Farber, Isis Brown, Gabbie Moore, Rachel Miller and Kylie Lenevich earned the Gold Level Outstanding Chapter award for their Family Fitness Fun Night at the elementary school in cooperation with the PTO; Ashley Farber and Rachael Miller earned the Silver Rating in Focus on Children; Isis Brown and Kylie Lenevich, earned the Silver Rating in Chapter Showcase Manual and a $750 Fuel Up to Play 60 Grant from the Dairy Association of Ohio. Vannest said the grant will be used to fund nutrition classes at the elementary school that Farber will spearhead.

April Galownia, high school computer instructor reported on awards that her Interactive Media II Class won at Belmont Technical College's Technology Competition. Those awards included the Overall Team Award, first place in video editing by Austin Dabrowski, first place in advertising brochure by Lindsay Baugh and first place in group competition by Arianna Grow and Cole McCardle. Galownia said the calls created a Web site, video and advertising brochure promoting the Carnes Center and Barkcamp.

Superintendent Glasgow reported that the middle school Rockets Away program will be recognized at the Nov. 15 Ohio School Board Association Student Achievement Fair. The Achievement Fair, held during the OSBA Capital Conference Nov. 13-15, showcases 100 displays of innovative school district programs and five student performing groups.

Elementary School Principal Scott Bowling requested permission to paint a logo incorporating the Jets logo on a wall near his office. The board approved the idea.

Glasgow said he had been informed that the Belmont Correctional Institution's Community Service Program had been eliminated due to state budget cuts, however, the prison landscaping crew program will continue. He said they will be available for four weeks this summer (two weeks at a time).

Glasgow told the board about plans for a Back to School Event on August 16. He said the event will be funded by a $1,600 grant from the Virginia Gasway Fund and will involve all buildings, clubs, social organizations, etc. He said the event may include inflatable rides, a scavenger hunt on the walking trail with prizes redeemable for school supplies and a wood carving demonstration. He said the event will be held in the middle school courtyard area if weather permits.

Glasgow also discussed cheerleading camp at Kent State. He said the camp was no longer mandated, but participating in a camp was required to be considered for the wall of fame.

Glasgow also reported on elementary school roof repairs will cost approximately half a million dollars, however, the Ohio School Facilities Commission considers the project still open from 2008 and will cover 80 percent of the costs including a slip near the elementary school. He said the commission will cover more of an ongoing project than a new one. Glasgow said that leaves the district with $100,000 in costs as opposed to $500,000.

Glasgow said he had every reason to believe that the commission will follow through, although it will be a "long, drawn-out process." He said he hopes to have the repairs done this summer.

In a related matter, Glasgow said the manufacturer of the shingles used on the roof was involved in a class-action lawsuit. He said the district will get 38,000 in cash and replacement of the shingles. Glasgow said the money will be applied to the district's 20 percent match of the OSFC grant.

"If all the stars align, he hope we can afford the repairs," Glasgow said.

The board was presented with copies of the proposed school fees, leading to a discussion of charging more money for kindergarten fees. Superintendent Glasgow said he checked with other Belmont County schools and none charged tuition. Board President Stan Sobel said there should be a way to charge more money without losing those students through open enrollment. It was pointed out that there are currently 25 students open enrolled in the district, each one representing $5,700.