Coweta school lunch prices to increase next month

By BRENDA PEDRAZA-VIDAMOUR brenda@newnan.com The Coweta County Board of Education approved a 25-cent increase in the cost of school lunches and other meals starting next month to offset the rise in food prices. Lunches at elementary schools will go up to $2 from $1.75, and at middle and high schools to $2.25 from $2. Breakfast prices at all schools will increase to $1 from 80 cents. The price of reduced meals for students whose family income qualifies them for the reduced or free meals stay the same at 30-40 cents.
The increase translates to roughly about $500,000-$600,000 in additional revenue for Coweta Schools’ $8.6 million food services budget, depending on the actual demand next year. Coweta School System expects the demand for school lunches and breakfasts to increase this coming school year because the school system can make the meals cheaper than a family can provide them, said Dean Jackson, Coweta Schools public information officer. The half-million estimate is based on the school system serving about 13,000 lunches a day over the 180-day school year, which totals to more than 2.3 million meals annually. Overall, the food service budget increases about 6 percent, less than the school system’s projected “food inflation” increase of about 10 percent. The schools’ food service is a self-supporting program, paid primarily by the students except for the federal subsidies the system receives for the free and reduced price meals. In other business at Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting, the school board also approved: • Policy and administrative regulation changes that set penalties against students who falsely report misconduct by educators or school employees and to allow for an appeals process for homeless students who disagree with their educational placement. The board also approved waiving the customary 30-day waiting period for implementation of these policies so they can be included in the student’s code of conduct and handbooks this year. • Changes to wording on some elementary school report cards. First grade report cards will now show MS (meets standards), IP (in progress) and DNM (does not meet) vs. the evaluation symbols of S, N and U. Under the old system, S indicated the student achieved 80 percent mastery in the subject, N indicated 70 percent, and U indicated the student failed to achieve 70 percent. • The renewal of a 10-year lease agreement on the Grantville Brown building in Grantville with the West Georgia Regional Educational Service Agency. In addition, the board had agreed in a committee meeting on Monday that the former gym and multi-purpose building adjacent to Grantville Brown would be retrofitted to house the Shenandoah branch of the Georgia Youth Science and Technology Center. • The renaming of Grantville Elementary School on U.S. Highway 29 in Grantville to Glanton Elementary School in honor of a longtime principal, Thomas Glanton. • The naming of the district’s newest elementary school on Jim Starr Road in north Coweta to Brooks Elementary School in honor of Richard Brooks, a former superintendent. Brooks Elementary, the system’s 19th elementary school, is slated to open in the 2009-2010 school year. Prior to opening, the elementary students who live in the area will go through a redistricting process. • Spending $17,000 to continue Iowa Basic Test Skill testing for third-, fifth- and eighth-graders this fall. The school system expenditure will pay for ITBS testing for third-graders only. Wayne Outlaw, assistant superintendent of curriculum and testing, explained the state will only pay for two tests next year. School systems have a choice of any grade level in grades 3-5 and any grade level in grades 6-8. The board, upon Outlaw’s recommendation, opted for the state to pay for the ITBS testing for eighth-graders and for fifth-graders since it was a larger group, therefore Coweta School System will pay for testing for the third-graders. In previous meetings, board member Mike Sumner advocated that the school system return to the norm-referenced tests to better evaluate how Coweta students are faring against other students nationally vs. how they fare against other students in Georgia on Georgia standards, as measured by the state’s Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. Outlaw explained Coweta students who tested in the past two years are faring mostly above the 60th percentile, which means Coweta students scored an average 60 percent higher than the national standard. In other discussions, Superintendent Blake Bass asked the board to be prepared to name a replacement to fill one of the board’s vacant seats at next month’s meeting. The District 4 board seat, vacated by Brian Roy last March, represents the northeastern portion of the county and Arnall Middle, Canongate Elementary, Northgate High and White Oak Elementary schools. The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is on Aug. 12, but it meets for public hearings on a tax millage increase on July 14 and 24. All meetings are held at the board’s offices on Jackson Street in Newnan. [Web Editor's note: The paragraph about changes to the wording on first grade report cards this year incorrectly stated that the old system of grading used evaluation symbols. The prior grading system used a number system or the average of the student’s grades per subject.]


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