UL board honors DI excellence

BELMONT-The Union Local Board of Education recognized three Destination Imagination teams as Thursday night’s meeting began.

Winning first place at the Ohio Regional 17 tournament on March 23 were Flying Psycho Ideas (Jaeda Mowak, Elsa Bretz, Zoe Wooding, Jonathan Kemp, Sawyer, Moore, Cheyenne Fillipovich and Connor Luyster with managers Jenn Fillipovich and Lilli Luyster;) Marvelous Flying Flaming Snails (Matthew Borkoski, Michael Borkoski, Luke Snyder, Caterina Miner, Maddison McCracken and Allison Gray with managers Denise Gray and Alice Miner;) The Team with No Name (Nicole Puperi, Paige Funkhouser, Paoli Roberts, Claude Romshak, Starbuck Roberts, Megan Garrison with managers Shawna Roberts and Robin Romshak.)

The Team with No Name took third place in the Ohio State Competition, qualifying them for the Global Finals in Knoxville, Tennessee at the end of the month. They will compete against teams coming from 14 countries.

Meanwhile, board members opted to table the issue of abolishing the library aide position for the 2013-14 school year after Union Local librarian Deborah Barr voiced her concerns. Currently Barr is part-time and divides her schedule among all three schools. She relies on the aide to work on shelving books and other maintenance-type tasks while she assists students. Barr added that the middle school library would need to close one of the two days it is currently open, and she is concerned about the high school library usage decreasing because of staff time limitations. The board will revisit the issue for consideration.

Union Local parent and alumnus, Roy Swallie, questioned board members about the athletic committee’s recommendation to approve Kelley Hanlon as the head coach for girls’ basketball next year.

“This is not personal against Mrs. Hanlon,” Swallie said. “I just think it’s shocking that there are others out there who are alumni of Union Local with Union Local coaching experience who aren’t recommended for the position. Why not hire the most experienced?”

After board member Ed Stenger asked committee members about Hanlon’s qualifications, member Todd Kildow explained that there were six applicants for the position.

“Some were prepared for the interview, and others had their own agendas,” said Kildow. “We were looking for the best person to be with the kids. We’re looking forward to carrying on with the Jets program.”

Dean Lancaster added, “I voted for who I thought was best for the job. The interviews were not unfair. Three people were from outside the district, and three were in. Mrs. Hanlon is employed by Union Local, and she has a clean background. Based on the committee criteria and process there was no reason to disqualify her.”

Hanlon was approved for the coach position, with Todd Kildow, Dean Lancaster and Terry Puperi voting yes and Ed Stenger and Allen Mann voting no.

“We’ve had a good year,” Janet Hissrich, treasurer, informed members. “We’ve been very careful. I can’t compliment the staff and administration enough for their efforts.”

Hissrich presented the April financial report which paid bills totaling $1,141,777.54 and a comparison that shows the cash balance up by nearly $836,000 from April 2012. She added that the forecast for June 30, 2013 showed a negative balance, but the district is on track to achieve a balance of roughly $50,000 in the black.

Allen Mann added his thanks to the teachers and everyone on staff for working together on keeping spending to a minimum. Members also approved a donation of $75 from the Flushing Business Association for the Union Local Band.

Under “Board Discussion” items, Kildow pointed out that the policies and handbook language may need review, specifically for cell phones and fighting. School principals Scott Bowling, Sam Lucas and Joel Davia responded that each fighting incident is decided case-by-case based on eyewitnesses, discipline histories and “common sense.” The next policy committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21 at 3:30 p.m.

Members approved signing a lease agreement with Rice Energy for the district’s Bethesda property.

Operations manager Bill West informed the board that future food service at the elementary school may be prepared by the Union Local kitchens rather than contracting with Preferred Meals. West says that Preferred Meals saves on labor, but participation has decreased because of menus based on new government requirements. The district would need to hire another food service worker, but picking up the students that have dropped the program would pay for the new employee.

Superintendent H. Kirk Glasgow said a county-wide levy of 1mill may be in the picture after discussion at a recent superintendents’ meeting. Funds would be divided among eight districts to pay for school resource officers. Union Local is also applying for an additional safety grant and is hoping to have a program in place next year.

The Union Local school board meets the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. in the high school library.

Valenti can be reached at gvalenti@timesleaderonline.com.