School Lunch Prices to Rise New Rates Meant to Comply with Federal Rules
By JOHN LENTZ
New federal regulations will push the price of school lunches up the next few years, Moore County Schools officials said.
Chief Finance Officer Mike Griffin explained the change to the Moore County Board of Education Monday night.
"The new regulations state that our average lunch pricing should be at least $2.46, as this amount more closely aligns to the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) reimbursement rate for free lunches. By charging a lower price, we are essentially subsidizing paid students with our free reimbursements."
The price changes will be implemented over a six-year period in two-year increments, beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.
"Current prices are $1 for breakfast in all schools, and lunch at $1.75 in elementary and middle schools, and at $2 for high school students," Griffin said. "For 2013-2014, breakfast prices will remain the same while lunch prices will rise to $2 for elementary and middle school students and $2.25 for high school."
Students will see another increase during the 2015-2016 school year. Lunch prices will rise to $2.25 for middle school students and to $2.50 for high school students. Elementary school student lunches will remain at $2.
A third phase will be implemented in the 2017-2018 school year, but pricing is not yet determined.
In other business at Monday night's meeting, Schools Superintendent Aaron Spence stressed the need for more technology in schools while continuing to seek grants to accomplish that goal.
"As you know, we are working very hard to ensure that our students have wonderful learning experiences," Spence said. "One of the areas that we have been studying closely is our technology needs. We are making changes in terms of access to technology in our schools, and we are doing this in a way that is within our current budget and is fiscally sound."
iPads will go out to students at Carthage Elementary School next week, and laptops have already been delivered to Pinckney Academy students in an initial phase of the system's one-to-one initiative. Spence said funding to secure "other changes" is in the works.
"In the coming weeks, we plan to utilize federal 'Race to the Top' grant funds to purchase new laptops for all teachers," he said. "As the laptops are distributed, teachers will receive staff development on how to use several key instructional tools like Edomodo and Google Drive.
"Thanks to a federal grant targeting rural learning, we are planning Phase 2 of our one-to-one initiative. This will include students in grades six to eight at Elise Middle School, Westmoore Elementary School and High Falls Elementary School. We will work with principals to identify 'trailblazing' teachers from these schools who will receive staff development on how to use the creative tools that laptops will provide for instruction."
Spence said that "as we identify funding," laptops will be leased to students in these three schools.
"Our standard will be that each school will have enough desktops and/or laptops to complete online testing for all students in one grade level or core content area at the same time."
Spence also acknowledged the recent tragedy in Newtown, Conn., in relationship to local school safety.
"These events have raised a number of concerns about safety in our schools, and I want to re-emphasize here that our schools are safe," he said. "I also want to remind our community that I have established a safety task force that will look at the physical safety of our school facilities, and that we will also be reviewing and making recommendations to improve our crisis management program."
Spence then segued to the evening's "Growing to Greatness" video profile, the superintendent's monthly salute to an outstanding school staff or faculty member.
"Given our emphasis on school safety, I think it's appropriate that tonight's salute is to a district leader who truly does a great deal to ensure the safety of all of our Moore County Schools students," Spence said.
The program was in honor of Moore County Schools Police Chief Sammy McNeill.
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@the pilot.com.
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