A dark cloud was hanging over the Marysville school board May 23 - both figuratively and literally.

A dark cloud was hanging over the Marysville school board May 23 -- both figuratively and literally.

In addition to the tornado sirens that caused a temporary interruption to the meeting, members pored over an expected $2.6- million budget shortfall expected by the end of the 2012-13 school year.

Board members heard a list of recommended measures from Superintendent Larry Zimmerman that included reducing staff, increasing pay-to-participate fees and eliminating coaches and other extracurricular positions.

Prior to any action on the proposal, board members requested time to consider the measures and to forward the list to the district's finance committee.

Zimmerman recommended that the board act on the proposal when members meet in June.

"We've already done a lot" in terms of cost savings, Zimmerman said. "There's not much left we can do."

The district already has announced that 19 of the 22 positions that became open as a result of a retirement incentive offered this spring would not be filled. An additional aide position will be absorbed, as well.

Board president Jeff Mabee pointed to other efforts in transportation, energy efficiency and food service as areas the district has worked to trim the budget without affecting services.

These savings will allow the district to finish fiscal year 2012 (July 2011-June 2012) with a $1.7 million cash balance.

Implementing additional reductions for the next school year, Mabee said, allows for the cuts to have two years of budget impact in the hopes of closing the $2.6 million gap in FY13.

He said the board is not considering a new levy at this time.

"I don't think that's where we want to go," Mabee said.

Zimmerman recommended the following cuts:

Consider reduction of 40 staff for 2012-13, saving $2.3 million.

Consider an additional $50 pay-to-participate fee, making the fee $200 per activity, saving $835,000.

Consider elimination of some coaching and activity positions, saving $71,000; elimination of seventh-grade sports/activities, saving $ 47,000; or suspension of middle school sports/activities for 2011-12, saving $130,000.

Consider elimination of about 30 percent of extended-time contracts, saving $51,000.

Consider reduction of summer workers, saving $30,000.

Consider increases in lunch prices, fees for building use, activity fees for student government and cafe contribution to custodial help, saving $173,000.

Additional reductions handled by administrators (substitutes, reduced materials, etc.), saving $150,000.