Boyle school board increases meal prices
The Boyle County School District is feeling the crunch of rising food service costs, forcing the costs to increase at the student level.
The board approved 5- and 10-cent increases in meal costs at the middle, high and Woodlawn Elementary schools Thursday night.
Lunch will be 5 cents more expensive and breakfast will be 10 cents more expensive at Boyle County High School and Middle School. Breakfast will also be 10 cents more expensive at Woodlawn. Lunches at the middle and high schools will now cost $2.60; breakfasts at all three schools will cost $1.35.
Adult meal costs will also increase to $2.05 for breakfast and $3.35 for lunch.
Woodlawn Elementary School lunch prices will not change. Junction City Elementary School and Perryville Elementary School are Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) schools, meaning students eat breakfast and lunch for free.
Those schools qualify to participate in the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) because at least 40 percent of students in the schools participate in need-based programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The district receives a reimbursement for those students.
Board Chair Jennifer Newby said she was concerned that parents at the middle and high school might think they were having to compensate for the students at the elementary level receiving free meals, “even though I know that’s not how that works.”
“That isn’t (how it works), but I understand why they might think that,” said Food Service Director Judy Ellis. “You’re right.”
Participating in CEP actually helps the district, Ellis said, if the students are willing to eat the meals from the schools.
Ellis outlined a few options and said the costs are figured using a federal calculation for the food service departments, which determines what the compliant rates are for the schools; each year it has to be adjusted. Sometimes, such as last year, she applies for a waiver if the rates are not where they need to be.
She proposed not increasing the rates at Woodlawn, as it was the only elementary school that was not considered CEP.
Initially, there was hesitation to raise the rates, specifically from board member Ruth Ann Elliott, who ultimately voted against the measure.
“You hear so much about kids going hungry,” Elliott said.
In addition to food costs, the food service department is looking at an additional $35,000 in retirement costs being pushed down from the state level.
“So what you’re looking at, board, probably next year, when the audit is complete of the 18-19 school year, if you do this change, food service will probably run $10,000-$15,000 in the red. If you don’t do it, it’ll probably be closer to $25,000 – $28,000. Something like that,” said Superintendent Mike LaFavers. “At some point, food prices are going to have to go up because the cost that’s being pushed down to us on retirement has got to be dealt with.”
Ellis said she will apply for a waiver, since the district rates would not be at the level they need to be based on the federal calculations.
The board also approved a request from Planning and Zoning Director Steve Hunter, to allow the Perryville Elementary School to be rezoned to Institutional Campus Development (ICD).
ICD is used for schools and large churches, he said.
The school currently sits in three different zones: agriculture, multi-family and NCC, which is a “neighborhood conservation classification,” according to the website of the City of Danville.
“You would be converting the school property from those three districts to the one district … There’s really no advantage to the school system. You guys can still do what you want. It literally just makes the zoning map show the use of the property,” Hunter said.
He said the change comes as part of a city-wide rezoning project in Perryville, in an effort to clean up the map and make the parcels match their uses. There are 166 parcels in the city where the zones don’t match their uses, he said.
“We realized one of those owners was the Boyle County School system … That doesn’t really matter — you’re exempt, we could leave it alone. But, as a housekeeping exercise, we thought, let’s get everything correct based on the zoning map,” Hunter said.
Centre College also recently made the switch, he said.
“It just looks good on the map … I just like the zoning to be accurate. It’s a housekeeping exercise in a fairly small area we can manage,” Hunter said.
LaFavers shared with the board that Black and Gold, the school’s one-week camp in the summer, had 750 students participating this year, in kindergarten through eighth grade.
“It’s things you can’t teach during the school year, interesting things for the children. Not to say school’s not interesting all year around, in my opinion,” he said. “It’s a great week for us.”