School lunches will cost more this fall

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 5, 2004

Barbara Lee Allen

Suffolk News-Herald

Suffolk Public Schools Board met Thursday evening with a great deal of business to discuss including the fact that that lunches in the 2004-2005 school year will cost more when students return to classes this fall.


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Brian K. Williams, supervisor of food and nutrition services, advised the school board that because the number of students receiving free and reduced lunches has decreased by 7 percent since the 1998-99 school year, federal government reimbursement has also decreased.

Williams said that 39 percent of Suffolk’s public schools students receive free or reduced price lunches. About 80 percent of federal funds received are based upon that figure, he said. Every 1 percent decrease results in a net loss of approximately $23,000 in federal funding annually.

Williams said food, materials and supplies account for the bulk of the operational expenses, and that funds spent for food supplies increased by about 9.3 percent and 6.2 percent respectively for school years 2001-2002 and 2002-2003.

The supervisor linked the increases to the fact that food and supply costs are rising steadily each year due to inflation and, in particular, rising fuel prices.

Parents and students can look for prices for a full lunch at a secondary school to rise from $1.25 to $1.35, and in primary schools, from $1.10 to $1.20.

Williams said he predicts that the price increase would generate about $65,000 in revenue, and the seven-member school board approved the increase when School Superintendent Dr. Milton R. Liverman asked for a vote.

In other matters before the school board this month, three board members re-elected May 4, were sworn into office as Suffolk Clerk of the Court W. Randolph &uot;Randy&uot; Carter administered the oath. The first to be sworn was Sharon Harris, James E. Perkinson, 59, was sworn as vice chairman of the board. The third board member to be sworn was John Riddick, 76. Carter also administered the oath of office to Dr. Liverman, who returns as superintendent for another four-year term.

Gwen T. Sweat, chairman of Suffolk Public Schools Career Technical Education (CTE) Advisory Council, presented a glowing report on the22-member group’s activities this year.

The CTE council has visited classes, made presentations, judged competitive events and conducted a Career Expo, and selected the CTE Outstanding Student and Teachers of the Year, said Sweat. CTE also reviewed teacher’s binders for the National Exemplary Standards Project.

Sweat told the school board that cooperative education students, those who work part of the school day, do so through 97 businesses that partner with Suffolk Public Schools to make such programs possible.

In fact, CTE served more than 7,567 students in grades 6-12 through 45 courses in 7 program areas, Sweat said. She added that the Annual Career Expo was a huge success in December with265 students and more than 528 interviews with students conducted by 25different businesses and industry, including several members of the council.

Other highlights of the CTE include FFA member Jessica Estienne’s winning first place out of 235contestants in the Virginia Tech Block and Bridle State Stockmen’s Contest quiz and first overall in the senior division.

Also, Lakeland High School’s Ashley Peterson will serve as vice president of the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

This year, the CTE Teacher of the Year is Betty Jo English of King’s Fork Middle School. She is the business and information technology teacher.

The Rookie Teacher of the Year is Audrey Copeland, as chosen by the CTE council. She is a family and consumer sciences teacher at Nansemond River High School.

Ciba Specialty Chemicals provided a $500 cash award to the CTE Student of the Year, Marlana Ashe, also of Nansemond River High. She will attend the College of William and Mary.

Suffolk Public Schools received both the state and national Award of Merit recognizing the district’s contributions to nursing and allied health.

Following that good news, Dr. Liverman also provided the board members and citizens attending the meeting that 12 new positions for Standards of Learning teachers have been made possible for the schools not yet accredited.

He advised the board that funding for the positions was made possible by shifting the purchase of textbooks.

The superintendent also announced with obvious pleasure that only nine of 608 seniors lack verified credits required for graduation.

Also, every single school has met the benchmark for accreditation, he said.

As for the construction of King’s Fork High School; J. Yatzeck, of McDonough Bolyard Peck, reported to the board that everything is on schedule and still expects the school to open on schedule, Sept. 6.

Yatzeck came to the board meeting armed with a Power Point presentation showing the building in its current state and the 4,000-seat football field and concession stands.

Liverman pointed out that the concessions at the 80-acre site of the new school will be double-sided, with a fence running through the center, so that it serves both the football and baseball fields at the same time. Look for the photos of the school and more on the meeting on the city’s Municipal Channel 8 as it is broadcast June 7 through 13.