Paid lunches will cost $2.25 a day, a 15 cent increase from the current price. Staff lunches will also increase to $2.75 and visitor lunches will be $4. Breakfast costs will be $1.25 for students, $1.75 for staff and $2.25 for visitors.
The price changes stem from the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act that goes into effect July 1 under USDA regulations.
Part of the act called “Paid Lunch Equity” was created to ensure sufficient funds are provided to cover the costs for paid lunches, said Child Nutrition Director Kelley Wassermann.
“This part of the act was one of the most hotly debated topics that stirred up child nutrition professionals around the country,” Wassermann said.
Under the act, school systems must evaluate lunch prices annually according to a formula provided by the USDA.
“If we had been in full compliance with that formula, our prices would have been $2.51 next year,” she said. “Instead of insisting we make this big jump, they allowed us to use a formula to gradually increase the rate every year so we can work up to that.”
Wassermann said although meal prices will increase, the school meals are still 30-35 percent cheaper than similar meals from local restaurants.
“I want the parents of Sylacauga to know that we can feed your children an affordable, nutritious and yummy meal,” Wassermann said. “And for $2.25, that is the best value meal you are going to find anywhere. I hope our parents can feel good about what we’re doing in child nutrition to serve their children.”
Other USDA school nutrition changes coming next year include increasing students’ daily servings of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Wassermann said the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act includes the most significant changes to the school lunch program since the 1960s.
The board also heard an update on the “Success on Saturdays” program. The program began this semester and provides extra assistance for students at Sylacauga High School and Nichols-Lawson Middle School on Saturdays.
Response-to-instruction and assessment coordinator Carol Martin said they have served 90 students between the two schools. Martin said the programs, which are tailored to students needs, is showing positive results by increasing student participation in school and helping them determine what they need to do to complete high school or begin planning their career.
“I really think it’s a model Saturday school program,” Martin said. “We’re very proud of them.”
Also, Mary Scott Hicks and Tom Roberts of I Can Achieve Ministries requested the board allow their organization to use the Mountainview School property to house a number of community programs for youth and senior adults.
Hicks said the organization stands to receive millions of dollars in grants to fund 27 programs. The board agreed to set up a work session with I Can Achieve, board members and other authorities to determine the legalities of turning the building over to the group.
The board also recognized the recent successes of the school sports teams.
Boy’s basketball played in the Final Four state playoffs and girl’s basketball made it to regional playoffs. Sophomore basketball player Shakayla Thomas was also named Class 5A Player of the Year.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a one-year contract extension for superintendent Renee Riggins. The extension is through June 30, 2012, at which time Riggins said she will retire.
• Approved a low bid of $32,386 to Dixie Store Fixtures for the purchase of one 20-gallon tilt kettle with a faucet, one 20-quart tabletop mixer, one set of double-stack convection ovens and one custom stainless steel work table to be used at Sylacauga High School
• Approved catastrophic sick leaves for Lisa Ham, Bonnie Rumsey and Rachel Mitrovski, effective through May 24, May 23 and April 30, respectively.
• Approved the resignations of seventh-grade basketball coach Terrance Houser and SHS assistant varsity basketball coach Josh Golden effective immediately and SHS science teacher Summer Ernest and SHS business education teacher Lance Ernest effective May 25.
• Approved retirement for student services coordinator Kelly Hubbard effective May 1 and SHS language teacher Deann Webb effective May 25.
• Approved employment for student services coordinator Bobby Hall effective May 1 and substitute teacher Ann Lowery effective since April 25.
• Approved tenure for Gloria Wood, Tonya Heartsill, Emily McCollum, Teresa Brunetti, Shelly Bailey and Leanna Holmes.
• Eliminated the position for seventh-grade basketball coach.
• Adopted two new math textbooks.
• Approved accounts payable and payroll totaling $2,200,799.34 for March.
Contact Emily Adams at email@example.com.