At the Thursday, April 20 meeting of the Union Local School District Board of Education, EMIS Coordinator Lisa Britton unveiled the district’s new website, ulschools.com, designed by 2011 UL graduate Jenna Britton of Jenna B Designs. Lisa Britton said the decision to revamp the website was made in the spring. Planning began over the summer and in the fall a photographer began getting pictures for the site including arial shots. The website went live two weeks prior to the school board meeting, but Britton said it is a work in progress and will remain so.

Lisa gave the board a brief tutorial of the website which includes information on the history of the schools that were consolidated to create the district, Jet Stream (events), mission statement, schools, athletics, staff, board, food service, alumni, and contacts. Britton said she gathered the information with the help of some other staff members including Robin Eberhart and April Galownia.

"It turned out well. We’re very proud of it," Britton said.

Superintendent Ben Porter thanked Lisa and Jenna for their hard work on the website. "They’ve been very patient in gathering and waiting for information for the website and I appreciate the effort," he said. Board member Dean Lancaster also expressed his appreciation for the website.

The board heard a presentation by Hillyard Partnership to enter into an agreement for a Cleaning Cost Analysis Program. Bill West, Director of Support Systems, said the program would standardize the district’s cleaning system, allowing for the easy transfer of staff from one building to another. Training would also be provided and could include all staff. There would be no cost for the program, with the agreement that the district purchase the majority of its products from the company.

Board member Dan Lucas presented Treasurer Janet Hissrich with a certificate of appreciation from State Representative Andy Thompson on behalf of the House of Representatives congratulating the district on receiving a 2016 Auditor of State award for its "timely, accurate and comprehensive financial statements" for the third consecutive year. The letter said was a reflection of the hard work of the staff including Hissirch and on the community.  Board member Ed Stenger said Hissrich deserved a large part of the credit.

The Union Local JetAdventure Program, as part of the 21st Century Learning grant, has established a Family Resource Center for the entire district.  Helen Puperi said the resource center was included in the latest grant and four volunteers are being trained to help families navigate community resources, create resumes, learn financial planning, and provide other needed services. In addition, a separate fund will be established to be used to help families in an emergency situation when community funds have been exhausted or do not exist.

She said at least 40 percent of the district’s students qualify for free and reduced price lunch, which is the method of determining family need. She said that translates to approximately 600 students and their families that may need assistance at some time throughout the year.

"We were able, in the past to help just a small percentage of those students, and we would like to help more," Puperi said. 

She said she hopes to make the Resource Center a separate program in the district.

"I think the students in our district will benefit greatly from this program."

Students are selling raffle tickets to fund the Center. First prize is a 10-minute shopping spree at Riesbecks’s in St. Clairsville, second prize is a five minute shopping spree, and third prize is a $100 store gift card. Tickets will be sold in front of the store on May 6 and 7. The winner will be announced May 8 and the shopping sprees will take place on Saturday, March 13, 2017 at 9 a.m. at the  St. Clairsville store. The rules and regulations of the contest are available on the school’s website.

Principal Robert Mascolino talked about events at the high school which included the Spanish classes decorating eggs for Easter, a mock crash held prior to prom on April 27 , and the Drug Free Committee bringing prisoners to the school to talk to the students on April 28. 

Nick Nardo, 6-8 grade assistant principal and athletic director, said the two of the school’s coaches reacted well to recent medical emergencies.

Testing was ongoing at both the middle and elementary school buildings. Superintendent Porter, who serves as the Middle School Principal credited Jayme Yonak, testing and curriculum coordinator and Nardo for their work. He said the testing went very smoothly and the staff and students worked hard.

The board approved a total of $22,366 in purchase orders, field trips, and the use of facilities. The board approved the JetAdventure Program’s field trip to COSI for the Explore Weather exhibit on May 12.

The board approved the 2018 group retrospective rating program enrollment with Compmanagement and were presented with four bids for a paving project. The architect, Jeremy Greenwood was present at the meeting and answered questions from the board. Treasurer Hissrich said the bids would be reviewed by the Building & Grounds Committee which would make a recommendation to the board. Once a bid is accepted, the project will begin June 1 and is expected to be completed by August 10.

Board member Terry Puperi said three applicants were received for the student board position and interviews were to be held the next week. He said the chosen student will be announced at the May meeting and sworn in, with the June meeting being the first they will sit on the board. Ed Stenger said he was excited about having a student board member.

The board approved the resignation of Kera Koch, fifth grade teacher, effective June 30, 2017.

The board approved Linda Bernard as a middle school tutor for the school year, and Lindsay Moore as the temporary district mechanic.

Mike Menges, security coordinator/?dean of students praised the district’s 60-acre campus. "You’ve got an awesome campus. I think there’s so many people who just take it for granted the facilities you have. I don’t know if there is another school campus in the (Ohio) valley that has their complete athletic facilities on the grounds of the school," Menges said.

He said he will be working on a five-year strategic plan to improve the buildings, security issues, and improvements to the athletic facilities.

Certified continuing contracts were approved for: Lisa Borkoski, Jodi Frye, Rachel Byrne-Dorff, Dena Beck, and Sonya Hunt. Certified three-year contracts were approved for: Alison Burga and Renee eddy. Certified two-year contracts were approved for: Katherine O’Brien, Stephanie Moeller, Autumn Swallie, Kristin Heatherington, Amy Kinder. Certified, one-year limited contracts were approved for: Elyse Swallie, Glenda Myers, Cindy Goff, Rick Link, Amie Purman, Kevin Lucas, Kathy Cordner. Non-certified continuing contracts were approved for: Tiffany Lucas, secretary; Kayla Grigatis, para pro aide; Amanda Wharton, head cook; James Saska, bus driver; Lashelle Carpenter, para pro aide; Kirk Glasgow, bus driver; Robin Mayhugh, custodian,  Non-certified, two-year limited contracts were approved for James Good, bus driver; Carol Kokotovich, bus driver; Amanda Probst, para pro aide; Elizabeth Emery, aide; Matt McKivitz, custodian.

A non-certified continuing contract was approved for Faith Lancaster, para pro aide beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. The board non-renewed the supplemental/?limited contracts for Kelley Hanlon, Lisa Whitacre and Elyse Thompson with the 21st CCLC High School After School Program for the 2017-2018 school year due to the program funding ending.

Helen (Kaye) Sechrest was approved as volleyball head coach. Amy Latham was approved as cheerleading advisor for varsity football and varsity basketball. Isaac Clark was approved as soccer head coach, and Sarah Thomas as his assistant coach.

Justin Curry was approved as a volunteer for baseball (pending PAV). 

Christine Tracy was approved  as a short term substitute teacher and Brandon Swallie was approved as a substitute bus driver.

The board approved the graduation list of the Class of 2017 contingent upon completion of all requirements set forth by the Union Local Board of Education and the State Department of Education.

The board approved the Preschool Policy/?Procedures manual and the Preschool handbook effective for the 2017-2018 school year.

The board approved a transportation agreement with Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy Saunders from April 2017 through the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

The board approved a request from the athletic committee to remove the 7/?8 grade playing time policy from the athletic policies.

The board also approved a contract with GreenCore Designs, Inc. for the automotive shop addition.