2017-04-20 / Front Page

BOE considers increase in lunch prices; purchases lawn maintenance equipment

By JANE ELLYN AARON
news editor

School meal prices were dis­cussed at the latest meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Education, as members examined the possibil­ity of a slight increase to lunches across the district.

Elementary school lunches would tentatively increase from $2 to $2.15; middle and high school lunches would move from $2.25 to $2.40; and adult lunch prices would increase from $3 to $3.25.

“We have not done a meal price increase in this district in a couple of years. There is a formula that the state and the USDA put together to identify what the cost of the meals are,” Superintendent Dr. Samuel Light said. “As you remember free and reduced lunch is reimbursement through National Foods, and that’s a National Food price that we are re­imbursed for, but for the local level the state computes what our prices should be based on participation rate, cost of food, etc. They put it into a formula and give the nutrition directors an estimate of what that increase should be.”

These prices meet financial re­quirements for Lincoln County’s school system and were thus recom­mended, according to Light.

Adding to discussion, board member Michael Fogarty inquired about the Community Eligibil­ity Provision option (CEP), which provides free meals district-wide, however Light explained that Lin­coln County’s does not reach the minimum percentage – 40 percent across the district – of low-income families to qualify for program. It was noted, however, that Lincoln County is “right at the threshold” of qualifying.

Additionally, for CEP to function, the district must also decide whether or not it’s financially feasible to maintain the program.

The board voted to table the de­cision to increase the meal prices in order to examine the increase suggestions once again, as well as research more on the CEP program. The decision will be presented to the board again at next month’s meeting.

In other business, the board voted to offer employees an additional benefit option which would accom­pany certain life insurance plans that are currently being offered.

“This is a possible new benefit from one of our insurance carri­ers that I would like to offer our employees,” Dr. Light said. “It is a long-term care plan that can be pur­chased, it is definitely not required, and it is a rider that would go on a guaranteed issued life insurance plan that is attached to TransAmer­ica. It is something that we offer, and something that was discussed last year, but we didn’t feel like we had enough interest before.”

The plan must have participation of 10 or more employees, and it will not add any additional cost to the board, but provides the opportu­nity for it to be a payroll deduction. Without enough interest however, the plan will not be offered to em­ployees.

The board also approved the pur­chase of equipment to spread the necessary chemicals for grounds maintenance. The equipment will be purchased from the lowest bid­der, which was Palmer Equipment of Washington, for $25,530.

As a part of the board’s in-house maintenance, a member of the system’s maintenance crew will be certified to spread these chemicals.

The board also discussed imple­menting an official operating proto­col. Light presented protocols from Georgia and Florida to the members as examples, but noted that they could create their own protocol and pull different procedures from each in order to meet this board’s specific needs.

The board agreed to have a work session to decide its protocol, and invite a GSPA trainer to the session for additional assistance.

Furthermore, the board approved a non-resident enrollment request.

In other business, Director Kaye Bufford presented a finance report for the month of March.

“We have 75 percent of our fiscal year complete,” she said. “We’ve collected about 96 percent of our taxes, since they were due in De­cember. That’s a good thing.

“As far as all of the revenues go, it looks like we’re on schedule, and we’re even ahead on some, and we’re already over budget on some of those, so that’s a good thing,” Bufford continued. “We may have to revise the budget upward a little bit.”

She reported that revenues were at 83.97 percent, and expenditures were at 69.4 percent. According to Bufford, “at the end of March we had 4.2 million in the bank, and a fund equity of 3.7 million, which has gone down just a little bit from the previous month, but that compares to what we’ve previously had.

“Our SPLOST is still down. You can see we collected $43,162. That is lower than last month and lower than last year, so we have a little trend going that does not look good, but hopefully that does not continue,” the director said. “We are still within our budget – I budgeted $50,000 per month and because of the higher collections in those first months we’re still within our budget as far as the SPLOST is concerned.”

The April bond interest payment was made on March 31, leaving a balance of $93,333 in the SPLOST fund, and a balance of $507,434 in the bond tax fund, giving a total of $600,768 which will go toward future bond payments, accord­ing to Bufford, who included that $975,000 was paid this year.

“Next year, in October, the pay­ment will be $435,000, so you can see that we’ve already got that pay­ ment, which is all interest, and then in April it will be $985,000, so that’s what we’ll be working toward as far as our SPLOST collections and our bond tax are concerned,” she said.

Last, the director noted that pay­ments were made on the playground equipment at the elementary school, and that security cameras and desks in the East Georgia College class­rooms were paid for.

She included that there are $142,000 in the capital projects fund for elementary school repairs or whatever else the board may decide to use them for.

Discussion was also given to the rough draft of next fiscal year’s budget.

As a part of his superintendent’s report, Dr. Light congratulated third- grade Georgia Young Author winner John Hodnett who was successful at the REESA level competition, and will now continue to the state competition.

Literary winners Mackenzie Jor­dan, Gina Sutton, and Kyndra Sul­livan were honored for being named Girl’s Trio State Champions, along with Garren Griffin who was named winner of “dramatic interpretation” in the humorous category.

Isabelle Linkous was congratu­lated on being named the SkillsUSA state winner in sheet metal.

Students Jalicia Norman, Oak­ley Carani, Alexis Mc­Call, Bobby Moon, Prenonna Mickens, Jakayla Mason, and Chloe Pope, who par­ticipated in the FCCLA conference in March, were also recognized for their achievements.

“I’m very proud of this group, we’ve been doing big things this year, and we look forward to doing lots more next year,” FCCLA advi­sor Beth Pilkington said.

The next meeting of the Lincoln County Board of Education will be held at the board office on Tuesday, May 9, at 7 p.m.

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