Union Reaching for High Five

With just under 850 students from kindergarten to twelfth grade, next month the Union Public School district is expected to receive the highest rating the state offers, a level 5. This is rating which officials attribute to vast community support and hardworking teachers.

"Most of our teachers are home grown and we have very little turn over," says Superintendent Don Brantley.

Although happy for the achievement, district officials say there is room for improvement. One thing on Superintendent Brantley's wish list is establishing a pre-kindergarten program for four years old within the district. However, with lagging funds and growing needs he says this probably will not happen anytime soon.

"In our district the funds are kind of limited, so we are always seeking grants or any extra resources that we might can find to supplement our state and federal funds."

With a yearly total budget of about $5 million, Brantley says extra money from grants is imperative. For example, he says it's grant money that helps fund an after school tutorial program for students who need it.

It's programs such as this which he says has helped the district reach its anticipated Level 5 status. Meanwhile, he contends there's still more work to be done.

"We won't be satisfied until all of the children are proficient and that's hard to do!"

The official rankings for schools throughout the state will be issued on September 10.