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School lunch prices rising again? Board to take up issue

Next school year parents may be digging a little deeper into their pockets to pay for their child’s school lunch. 

Food Coordinator Lori Hale will present Halifax County School Board members with a proposed 10 cents hike in school lunch prices at their meeting tonight. 

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. when members go into closed session to discuss personnel and student discipline. Members will return to open session at 7:30 p.m. 

Just last year the Halifax County School Board approved an increase in school lunch prices from $1.85 to $2. 

Hale said last year’s increase was necessary to meet federal guidelines.  

Tonight they plan to consider raising that price to $2.10.

In unfinished business, Hale also is expected to further discuss the food service plan for Cluster Springs Early Learning Center. 

At last month’s meeting, Hale requested the board consider new options for how the lunches are prepared after seeing a year of low student participation.

The food service coordinator suggested lunches be prepared at Cluster Springs Elementary School and transported to the school. 

Board members voiced concerns to keeping the food at a safe temperature, not using the newer kitchen equipment at the learning center, and they were wary to try this because they felt it would not help increase participation in bought lunches. 

ED-8 Trustee Walter Potts requested Hale provide the board with figures showing how much participation would be needed to “break even” in order for meal preparation to stay at the site as well as the anticipated student enrollment for next year. 

In other unfinished business, Superintendent Dr. Merle Herndon is slated to discuss the request for proposals (RFPs) from food service management companies.  

The school board first began discussing the idea to investigate professionally managed service providers for food service at their February meeting. 

In February, trustees voted to send the RFPs to the state education department for approval. If the RFP was approved, the next step is for the school division to solicit proposals from food service companies that may want to take over school cafeteria operations. 

In new business, Chairman Kim Farson is expected to announce a late June school board meeting and joint meeting with the board of supervisors to be held June 23 at 6 p.m. as well as a special school board meeting for student discipline. 

The chairman also will seek the board’s approval of signing a resolution commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court Ruling. 

Director of Finance Jay Camp will present information on the Virginia Retirement System’s employer retirement contribution rate election and the monthly payroll for 10 and 11-month employees. 

Herndon also will give a report on a staff appreciation event to be held May 22 at 6 p.m. 

The superintendent also is expected to recognize the division art winners in the Virginia School Board Association Southern Region Art Competition.   

If needed, prior to adjourning, the school board will return to closed session to discuss personnel.