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USD 410 ups meal prices

Staff writer

For the first time in nine years, USD 410 Board of Education voted Monday to raise school meal prices.

All student, staff, and visitor meal prices will increase 20 cents, and milk prices will increase 10 cents.

In recent years, the district’s general fund had subsidized food service by about $50,000 per year, Superintendent Steve Noble told the board. He said food service staff has sought ways to reduce that deficit.

Earlier in the meeting, Hillsboro High School cafeteria director Teresa Bernhardt said they are replacing Pizza Hut pizza on the menu because it is their most expensive meal. There are no plans to replace the second most expensive meal, local favorite sausage sandwiches, however.

Even with such efforts, it is unlikely the district will be able to reduce the cost of serving meals in the near future. Bernhardt said a vendor told her to expect food prices to increase between 3 and 5 percent in the coming year.

Additionally, schools will have to cope with new federal nutrition guidelines, which will require more expensive ingredients, including dark greens rather than iceberg lettuce, she said.

Noble recommended increasing prices by 10 cents on student breakfast and lunch, as well as milk. He suggested keeping staff and visitor meal prices the same, because they were already above the state average.

Board member Gary Andrews proposed increasing student meal prices 20 cents and milk 10 cents. After board member Rod Koons suggested increasing staff and visitor meal prices 50 cents, Andrews amended his motion to make the increase 20 cents on all meals and 10 cents on milk. The board approved that proposal.

The increase does not affect free or reduced-price meals.

New USD 410 meal prices

  • Breakfast, student $1.45
  • Breakfast, adult $1.70
  • Lunch, K-5 $2.10
  • Lunch, 6-12 $2.35
  • Lunch, staff $3.20
  • Lunch, visitor $3.70
  • Milk $0.35

Budget picture updated

Noble updated the board on budget possibilities. The district will have to increase its bond and interest levy about 2.5 mills to meet its debt obligations.

Another 0.5 mill increase in the local option budget levy would ensure the district receives as much state aid as possible.

The biggest question for the board, Noble said, is what to do about the capital outlay levy. Raising it to the 8 mill cap would result in an overall property tax increase of 5.9 mills, but would result in the capital outlay fund expanding in the next few years.

Keeping the capital outlay levy at its current level, resulting in an overall 3 mill increase, would cause the fund to gradually deplete at a rate of about $58,000 per year.

Lowering the capital outlay levy by 3 mills, resulting in no net increase to property taxes, would rapidly deplete the fund at a rate of about $200,000 per year. It would be completely expended before the end of the 2013-14 school year at that rate.

The district will have its budget hearing at the August meeting. The budget will be published in the Hillsboro Star-Journal with the maximum allowable capital outlay levy, Noble said. However, the board can always approve a lower levy than is published. It cannot approve a higher levy than what is published without republishing the budget.

Student fees payable online

The district is working with online company Rev-Trak to allow parents to pay for student meals and fees online. The meal plan payment system is in place, and the fee system is under construction.

Board clerk Jerry Hinerman demonstrated the meal plan payment system. From the district’s website, http://www.usd410.net, parents click on the Skyward link and log in. From there, a parent can click on “Food Service” then “Make Online Payment” to add money to their child’s food service account.

Rev-Trak will charge a 3.49 percent fee for online credit card payments. Noble asked the board whether the district should pass the fee for online payments on to parents or absorb the cost.

Koons commended Hinerman for his work on the online system and said he didn’t want to charge a fee.

“It’s a cost of doing business,” Koons said.

The board voted to not charge a fee for online payments.

Officers elected, appointed

For the district’s new fiscal year, which began July 1, the board elected and appointed new board officers.

Eddie Weber was re-elected board president. Andrews was elected board vice president after former vice president Koons nominated him.

Marion County Special Education Cooperative representative Deb Geis and alternate Andrews, Technology Excellence in Education representative Mark Rooker and alternate Joe Sechrist, chief negotiator Koons, Kansas Association of School Boards governmental relations representative Weber, and technology committee representative Andrews were all reappointed to their positions.

Andrews was appointed assistant negotiator, replacing former board member Dale Klassen. New board member Chad Nowak was appointed to Andrews’s former position on the professional development council.

In other business:

  • Hillsboro Development Corporation Director Clint Seibel announced the city has received a $25,000 grant for youth entrepreneurship. The school district will receive a significant portion of the grant, possibly about $10,000, to expand its new entrepreneurship curriculum. Noble will be part of the steering committee for the grant funds.
  • The Hillsboro Star-Journal was approved as the district’s official newspaper for public legal notices.
  • The board approved continuing membership in Kansas Association of School Boards, with dues of $7,006, and the association’s legal assistance fund, with dues of $1,400.
  • Pay rates for non-contracted classified employees and substitute teachers remained the same. Rooker raised a concern that substitute teachers, paid on a per-day and half-day basis, will receive the same pay for more hours, as the district increased the length of the school day. The rate was kept the same, regardless.
  • Becky Lindsay resigned as a HHS at-risk aide. The district has four applicants to fill the vacancy, and applications are due Saturday.
  • The district is changing the method by which classified workers will be paid, starting in the 2012-13 fiscal year. Currently they are paid 1/12 of their annual pay each month. Starting in summer 2012, they will be paid month-by-month, with pay periods running from the 21st of one month to the 20th of the next. Administrators will meet with affected staff to explain the ramifications.

The next regularly scheduled meeting will be 7 p.m. Aug. 8.

Last modified July 13, 2011

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