Prices on the rise for meals in county schools

First Posted: 5/4/2009

Child Nutrition Director Sherri Parks approached the Surry County Board of Education with a request at Monday nights meeting, one that she said she did not want to ask.
With the increase in the cost of labor, food and supplies for the child nutrition department, Parks requested that the board approve an increase in meal costs at the schools for the 2009-10 school year.
She asked for a 15 cent increase in breakfasts and lunches provided by the schools for those who pay full price for meals. Even with this increase, she assured board members that Surry county would still be charging up to 30 cents less for school meals than surrounding counties.
We want to continue to stay in the black, said Parks, referring to the fact that the department has been able to cover its expenses in the past and continue to pay the indirect cost, a check the department writes to the board each month to cover such expenses as travel.
In the 2008-09 agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it states that the indirect cost should be waived if the payment of that cost would cause the department to end up with a loss of money.
For the first time in my tenure, if she pays the indirect cost, she will have a loss, said Dr. Ashley Hinson, superintendent.
With the increase in cost, breakfast for students K-12 will be $1.15 while adult breakfasts will be $1.50. For lunch for K-5 student, the price will rise to $1.80 from $1.65. For middle and high school students, lunch will rise from $1.85 to $2. An adult lunch will cost $3.10.
According to Parks, the school system has only increased its prices once in the past eight years and still charges less than the average cost to fix a lunch.
We will continue to have some of the lowest meal prices in the region. We will still try to keep meal prices as low as we can, she said.
Hinson was quick to point out that this change will only affect the around 44 percent of the student population who pay full price for meals. He also pointed out that there is federal legislation in the works that would do away with reduced-price meals, making all of those students qualify for free meals. This would provide more federal funding to the school system for food.
Wanda Mitchell, finance director, also spoke to the board about the reversion requested by the state of funding that has not already been spent. State officials asked that this funding not come from instructional funds. The Surry County school system will have to revert $242,214 from the money for this fiscal year, which ends June 30. It will not affect what the school system will receive in the coming fiscal year.
The present board members begrudgingly approved this request to amend the budget, noting that they did not really have a choice.
Jill Reinhardt, director of CTE/media/technology, spoke to the board about the North Carolina Learning Technology Readiness Initiative funded by the Golden LEAF Foundation which the school system has received for the 1:1 laptop initiative. Surry County has been selected as one of 14 districts to participate in this initiative.
The program will provide information on coaching models from other school districts that have incorporated laptops into their lesson plans as well as professional development for teachers. They will have their first meeting May 18.
I think we have a golden opportunity here, said Reinhardt. I feel very proud that Surry County will be one of those districts.
This is really a breakthrough for us. It is huge in our efforts to provide laptops to our students, added Hinson.
The final sections of the contract for the central district elementary school were approved Monday morning with contractors heading to the site to begin removing trees. The official groundbreaking for the school has been set for May 14. May 19 will mark the bid openings for the new middle school in Pilot Mountain.
Isabella Gillespie was recognized for placing at the North Carolina state science fair with her project on human chorionic gonadotropin.
Teresa Montgomery was recognized for being named the administrative professional of the year by the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.
Wrestlers from East Surry, North Surry and Surry Central high school were recognized for being conference and regional champions.
Teachers and staff from 13 of the countys 17 school were recognized for writing and receiving about $54,278.21 in grants.
In other items on the agenda:
The board approved a memorandum of agreement with the Surry Early College High School similar to the one previously in affect. However, the agreement will be reworded to give the Surry County Board of Education jurisdiction over students who attend the school.
The board approved the Title III grant application which is due May 15. The money provided through the grant would go to provide mentors for English as a Second Language teachers as well as provide additional teaching assistants for heavily populated schools.
The board approved a memorandum of agreement with the Surry County Board of Commissioners allowing both organizations use of the Reece Building which the school board requested to purchase to house computer equipment as well as child nutrition equipment for the school system. The county commissioners would also like to use space in the building.
Hinson was asked to be on a commission formed by the state superintendent along with representatives from other educational entities and businesses in the state to work on workforce development in the state. They will identify ways students can be more prepared to enter the workforce.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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