Purdy school board approves meal rate increases

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Purdy R-2 Board of Education reviewed financial issues at its July meeting and voted to increase meal prices.

Superintendent Jerry Lingo said unexpected cuts in commodity food shipments forced a $20,000 budget increase in food purchases during the past year. Without an increase in meal prices, Lingo anticipated a deficit of $30,000 to $40,000 in the food program.

Part of the food service problem has come from a drop in the number of students signed up for free and reduced meals. Lingo said he believes the economic condition of the community has not changed. Higher enrollment in the free and reduced meal program would boost government funding to the district in a number of areas.

Lingo planned to pursue getting more families to sign up for the program. All students going through the meal line now have a number, so there is no way to identify those receiving aid. The district presently has 56 percent of students in the free and reduced program. Lingo believed the number surpasses 60 percent.

Board members approved increasing the cost of a breakfast or lunch by 25 cents. The increase raises the cost of breakfast to $1.25 for students and $1.50 for adults. Lunch prices will be $1.50 for elementary students, $1.75 for middle and high school students, and $2.25 for adults. Reduced price meals for qualifying students are $.55 for breakfast and $.65 for lunch for all grades.

The rise will cost $10 a week more for a family with four children. Having the only independent food service left among local school districts, board members agreed the increase was necessary to keep the program breaking even. They praised Food Service Director Shirley Burdette for shopping for price breaks.

Other financial action

Approval of the final budget for the 2010-11 school year left the district with a positive balance of $567,856. Lingo said American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal stimulus money was largely responsible for the district's balance. Funds were used for salaries and the purchase of supplies, particularly for the special education Title I program, that would not have been possible otherwise.

Out-of-district tuition rates will stay the same for the coming year at $4,000. Lingo said he would have asked to have the rate increased. Since no one from outside the district has requested attending Purdy in the past two years, he saw no reason for a change.

The extra duty stipend rates for the coming school year were approved. Rates remained the same as in the past year.

Some of the positions remain open. At the beginning of the meeting, board members accepted the resignation of high school counselor Nancy Doubrava, of Springfield, who took a position with Ozark Technical College.

The board has scheduled a special meeting at 7 a.m. on Friday to hire a replacement.

The sophomore, junior and senior class sponsors have yet to be named. Michelle Aldridge will be the new assistant girls softball coach this fall.

Administrative action

The board's Aug. 15 meeting will be preceded at 5:30 p.m. by a reception for new employees. Board President Randy Henderson urged new staff to attend so board members could become acquainted with them before school starts.

The annual tax levy hearing will follow at 6:15 p.m. The regular monthly meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m.

A schedule of topics and presentations for board meetings over the coming year was approved. Lingo said the calendar had been prepared at the recommendation of the district's auditor and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to guarantee topics get reviewed.

The board renewed its contract with Cox Rehab Sports Medicine for providing speech language therapy for the coming year. Lingo said the new rate was only slightly higher than what the district paid when Cox first signed a contract three years ago.

Board members also agreed to keep the services of Forest D. Jones as administrator of the district's cafeteria benefits and 403B programs. Board Secretary Stacey Williams praised the past work done by the Jones firm.

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