Price of School Lunches Expected to Increase in Baldwin-Whitehall
Also, premium lunches could be eliminated to avoid seeing a 'class system in the cafeteria.'
Dr. Randal A. Lutz recommended a 10-cent price increase for school lunches at both the elementary and secondary levels as one of the first official recommendations that he's made as the new superintendent of the Baldwin-Whitehall School District.
Lutz suggested the increase on Wednesday night at the first B-W School Board meeting of the 2012-13 academic year. Included in his recommendation is a call for the elimination of premium lunches in district cafeterias.
Lutz explained that the moves stem from budgetary concerns as outlined by the district's Food Service Director Tammy Caponi and from higher-level restrictions being placed on free/reduced lunch programs.
Caponi's research was made available to school board members but not to the general public. And though an official vote on the administration's recommendation won't come until the next board meeting at the earliest, her research was seemingly enough to satisfy the board members.
"After reading all of her explanation," board member George L. Pry said, "I'm actually surprised it's only going up 10 cents.
"We've been watching food costs these past few months, and wait 'til we see next year's numbers with the droughts this year."
Lutz explained that the move to rid the district of premium lunches stems from the elimination of what the district can get reimbursed for in its free/reduced lunch program.
"The long and short of it is that premium lunches will no longer count for reimbursement (from higher levels of government)," he said.
That would cause some students in the district's free/reduced lunch program to have to settle for standard lunches while others opt for the larger, more expensive premium ones, Lutz said.
"It's basically going to create a class system in the cafeteria that we have fought hard to move away from," he said. "Until we are a cashless system, Mrs. Caponi doesn't see any way that we can set up a system where premium lunches can still be offered and the student population is not aware of who are the haves and the have-nots."
Board member Nancy Sciulli DiNardo supported the elimination of premium lunches based on that rationale.
"I'm not in support of anything or any way where a child walks into a room and he can be discriminated against or teased in any way because they're getting something more or less than someone else," Sciulli DiNardo said.
Lutz suggested increasing the amount of items to be offered for all students on the district's a la carte menu as a way to accommodate those who want more than a standard lunch.
"There's still choices," he said.
Check back with the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch later on Thursday for more odds and ends from Wednesday night's school board meeting, including information regarding extracurricular activities eligibility, theater arts, alternative education and more.
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