The Carter County Board of Education has approved a request to increase the cost of paid school lunches for the upcoming school year. The board agreed to the decision at yesterday’s school board meeting in Elizabethton.
Food Service Director Marisa Potter explained that the federal government developed a new set of guidelines entitled the Paid Lunch Equity Program. Using a special formula, the federal government determines if a school system has their breakfast and lunch prices set at the correct level for students who are not on the free or reduced-price programs. While Carter County was able to keep the cost of their meals at the same rate last year, Potter said the federal government’s formula has determined the cost of meals is 14 cents too low. She asked the school board to approve an increase of 25 cents.
School Board member Daniel Holder presented a motion to increase the cost by 15 cents. “I think times are tough right now. I think we should keep the increase at 15 cents,” he said.
Holder’s motion was approved by a unanimous vote.
Potter reiterated that the increase will not affect students who are receiving free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch.
Assistant Director of Schools Dr. Kevin Ward, who will assume the title of Interim Director on July 1, said he has had initial discussions with school board members about the budget for the 2013-2014 school year. While no definite decisions will be made for several months, he commented that the central office will be working with the board members to identify areas to allow the system to operate within a balanced budget.
Ward also stated that preparations are already underway to institute common-core curriculum standards for mathematics in grades 3-8. He added, “One of the things that we all agree that we need to is to find the best ways to bring about consistency in our approach whether it be teaching, planning or overall instruction.”
In other business, the school board approved a request by Facilities Supervisor Phillip Nave to purchase a new public address system for Valley Forge Elementary School. Nave asked for $25,485 from the school system’s buildings and ground budget to purchase the equipment. The P.A. system is anticipated to be installed by the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year.
The school board also approved a one-year contract with Teka, Inc. to provide mowing services at county schools. Throughout the budget process this year, the school board identified outsourced mowing as a potential area of savings. The contract with Teka, which is based in Johnson City, will provide the services for the next fiscal year at a cost of $50,000.
A lease contract with the Workforce Development Complex for 2012-2013 was also approved by the board. The 12-month agreement will provide the school system with office space for several departments, including the attendance office and Carter County Adult Education, at a cost of $1,666.67 per month.