Board to weigh food service price increases

By Hope Lecchi -

The Sedalia School District 200 Board of Education will address both student centered matters and building and grounds issues at tonight’s board meeting.

One item of discussion will be the cost of district meals to students and staff according to Superintendent Brad Pollitt.

“We are proposing to increase the cost of both breakfast and lunch $.10 a meal daily,” Pollitt said. “We have not raised prices since the 2012-13 school year and it is time we look at the issue.

“The food service program is one that is supposed to be self-sustaining, meaning the district should not make any money from the program but we should not lose money on it either,” he explained. “Our intention is not to make up for money lost by providing meals at the elementary level, but it’s to lessen the gap in money lost in the junior high and high school meal programs.”

The district provides free breakfast and lunch to all students in grades pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.

Student breakfasts are currently $.90 and a lunch is $1.75.

With the proposed increase, costs will rise to $1.00 for a student breakfast ($1.25 for an adult meal) and $1.85 for student lunches ($2.35 for adults.)

Pollitt surveyed eight surrounding school districts, finding the average cost of student breakfasts was $1.22 and student lunches were $1.97.

“The number of meals purchased throughout the district remains stable,” Pollitt said. “We have added some benefits such as the grab and go meals at the high school, which have added to the cost of the program but we feel the benefits to the students far outweigh those costs.

“We encourage all parents to fill out the free and reduced lunch forms each year to see if they will qualify for the program,” Pollitt added. “We will be evaluating our food service contract with OPA this fall to continue to look at our meal program.”

A second matter for discussion will affect students whose families pay tuition to the district.

The administration is recommending that the tuition rate for the upcoming school year be set at $8,000 for students in grades K-12.

“Each year Dr. Wolfe (Harriet Wolf, chief financial officer for Sedalia 200) figures the district’s tuition rate based on DESE’s Formula,” Pollitt said. “This year we are asking the board for their approval to raise the rate $200 from last year.”

Pollitt said there are not large of students who pay tuition to attend the Sedalia School District and that the primary community affected by the tuition rate is Dresden.

The board will be asked to consider some minor changes to the student discipline code handbook.

“There aren’t many changes we are requesting to the handbook,” Pollitt said. “Most of the changes involve wording to bring them into alignment with our existing policies.”

The board will be asked to consider four upgrades to district buildings including an intercom bid for Smith Cotton Junior High and an intercom system for the new construction at the high school.

“As part of our five-year plan we needed to look at the intercom system at the junior high, “Pollitt said. “”It is an expensive system but it is a way we can update and improve our safety measures.

“The system at the high school is one that must be compatible with our existing system,” he added

The board will consider a switch bid for technology maintenance and upgrades and a bid for new heating and air conditioning units at Whittier High School.

Last month, representatives from the Sedalia Youth Football League requested permission to seek funding from businesses and donors for the instillation of lights at one the fields located in front of Smith Cotton High School.

SYFL will make a follow-up presentation at tonight’s meeting asking for board approval to proceed with the instillation.

The board will be asked to approve the date for the tax rate hearing and will hear a report from Chris Pyle, director of special services for the district.

The board meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Horace Mann Elementary, 1100 West 16th St. For more information call the central office at 829-6450.

By Hope Lecchi

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.

Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.

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