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Published: Wednesday, 5/25/2011

Oregon to boost fees, Rossford plans layoffs

Districts act to deal with revenue shortages

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Clay High School's athletic fees will double for next school year -- to $150 for the first sport, $100 the second, and $50 the third -- as part of the district's plan to save $2.4 million annually, primarily through cuts.

Lunch prices at all Oregon City Schools will increase 15 cents a meal, the first boost in several years.

They will be $2.65 in the high and middle schools and $2.40 in the elementaries under a plan approved last week by the school board.

Elsewhere last week, Rossford Board of Education approved $436,000 in cuts for next school year, including $175,000 in savings through attrition.

The plan calls for laying off one full-time classified worker as well as six part-time employees.

Rossford's school board also heard a presentation on Link Crew, a mentoring program also used by Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School that will begin next school year for incoming freshmen. Thirty two upperclassmen with diverse backgrounds will be crew leaders, with two mentors for every eight to 10 freshmen.

Dawn Burks was among members who praised the program, which can help decrease bullying and other problems.

"I think this is a great opportunity for our staff and our students to participate and get involved," she said.

At Oregon City Schools, middle school athletes will pay $50 a sport, up $5. Athletic fees will be capped at $500 a family.

The Oregon district last week updated board members on the five-year forecast, which shows a $9 million deficit by the end of that period if Ohio Gov. John Kasich's budget is approved.

Eric Heintschel, board president, said members are starting to look at levy scenarios to help raise money.

The district is to receive an additional $12,369 in federal funds through the Race to the Top program for a total of $265,875 after some other districts opted to drop out of the school-reform program, said Mike Zalar, superintendent.

The board last week approved a $23,911.46 bid from GameTime, which has a representative in Alliance, for playground equipment at Starr Elementary.

A parent group has raised $11,000 for the playground equipment so far, and an additional $12,000 available from fund-raisers and other resources at the school, said Jennifer Conkle, Starr principal.

The equipment is to be installed this summer.

A second phase, which will cost about $10,000, is expected to be installed in late fall or early spring.



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