Schools approve breakfast, lunch price hike

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 3, 2005

The cost of breakfast and lunch is going up 25 cents for Shelby County School students. And the cost of breakfast for employees and visitors is going up 50 cents.

The pricing changes will go into effect with the start of the next school year, according to Linda Godfrey, child nutrition supervisor for Shelby County Schools.

The increases were approved by the Shelby County Board of Education at its regular April 26 meeting. Those increases will not affect free and reduced lunch prices.

According to information provided by Cindy Warner, public relations supervisor for the system, the child nutrition program requested the hike in price after evaluating the rising costs of food, equipment and labor.

The price of breakfast for elementary students will go from 75 cents to $1, and the price of breakfast for middle and high school students will go from $1 to $1.25.

Employee and visitor breakfast prices will be increased from $1 to $1.50 and from $1.50 to $2, respectively.

Lunch prices for elementary, middle and high school students all increase from $1.50 to $1.75 for elementary students and from $1.75 to $2 for middle and high school students.

Godfrey requested the increased meal prices for the 2005-06 school year, noting that prices have not been raised since the 1998-1999 school year.

In her request to school Superintendent Evan Major, Godfrey wrote, &uot;After evaluation of the increase in the price of food, equipment and labor, I believe it is in the best interest of the school system to increase student meal prices. The requested increase would also include an increase in employee and visitor breakfast prices.&uot;

According to Godfrey, prices will not increase for employee and visitor lunches because those prices for adults are already within the federal guidelines. In addition, she said those prices were increased two years ago.

However, since the last price increase for student breakfasts and lunches, Godfrey said the cost of food has increased between 20 and 30 percent.

She said in the past year the cost of a four-ounce container of juice was increased 7 cents per container. And since 2000, the cost of milk has increased 50 percent.

She said the cost to the school per container of milk is now 16 cents, but other costs to the program include equipment and labor.

Godfrey said without the price increase, &uot;Our program (CNP) would be in the red and the general fund budget would have to supplement the program which it does not (at present).&uot;

In other business, Major discussed the system’s current enrollment.

Present enrollment is 23,687 students with an average daily attendance of 23,398.95, or 94.6 percent.

Tom Ferguson, assistant superintendent of operations, said the system now has 64 mobile classrooms and could have as many as 95 by the start of the next school year.

The school board approved the bid Metro Trailer Leasing Inc. of Pelham for the lease of portable classrooms at a cost of $5,600 each.

Major said the school system will need 25 portable classrooms and could need as many as 35.

Following the vote by the board, Major said he has ordered 25 portable classrooms and has placed an order for 10 more to be put on standby.

The board also approved the bid of Transportation South of Pelham for school buses at a price of $38,541.60 each.

Major said the school system will need one to replace a bus that was damaged in an accident and a second bus as part of the fleet renewal.

He said if the school system continues to grow as expected, the board could need to add as many as 10 additional bus routes in the fall.

The board gave final approval to its participation in the capital outlay pool warrant series 2005 (sale of bonds by the state) totaling $84.98 million.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Finance Gary McCombs, by pledging state funds that would have come to Shelby County from the state Department of Education, a portion of about $4 million, the school system will receive a loan of $14.8 million.

He said the money will be used to build the Chelsea Park Elementary School, and the loan will be paid back at an interest rate of 4.247 percent over 20 years.

In another financial matter, McCombs reported in February the school system had about $47 million in assets. In March, however, revenues of $13.7 million were exceeded by expenses of $16 million, leading to a $2.3 million decrease in assets to $44.7 million.

McCombs explained that revenues appear to be decreasing because a majority of property tax has already been collected