Silver Creek board debates lunch prices

SILVER CREEK – Facing a significant negative balance in the cafeteria fund for the second year, the Silver Creek Board of Education discussed solutions.

Business Administrator Cindy Mackowiak reported the district’s cafeteria fund ended the 2013-2014 school year with a $23,000 negative balance. After fund balance was applied, the deficit was reduced to around $2,300.

Mackowiak said the district did not meet estimated revenues because of loss of sales due to new nutrition standards and the number of snow days and also undershot the estimated expenses due to equipment repair costs.

In addition, she said there is an increase in the food service contract with Personal Touch for the 2014-2015 school year.

Mackowiak noted the district has one of the lowest meal prices in the area. Meal prices for the 2013-2014 school year were $1.25 for breakfast, $1.35 for elementary lunch and $1.45 for high school lunch. In order to break even, the district would need to increase prices by 50 cents.

“If we use money from the budget, everybody is paying, nit just the person buying the lunch. The people who are struggling get free and reduced lunches, why not ask the people using the service to pay?” Board member Martha Howard asked.

President Matt Bogosian said he thought 50 cents in one year is too great of a jump in prices for families to adjust.

“That is $10 per week per kid for lunch,” Board member Scott Pulver pointed out.

Board member Irene Blakely said increasing the prices could cause families not to buy lunch.

Howard asked if making the food in-house was a feasible option.

“I want to see other options – more economical, more appetizing options,” she said.

Superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich asked if the board would agree to a 35 cent increase for the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years to try to keep up with rising costs while other options are investigated.

The board approved the increase for the 2014-2015 school year, making prices $1.60 for breakfast, $1.80 for elementary lunch and $1.80 for high school lunch. The contract price for lunch is over $2.52 and $2.08 for breakfast. Part of the difference is made up through state free and reduced lunch reimbursements.

Melodee Leone and Amy Bartell presented on the STAR reading and math program, which allows the district to use information from tests to identify weaknesses in curriculum, on a grade level, classroom level and individual level.

The board approved a shared sports contract with Forestville for the 2014-2015 school year. Sports shared include varsity and modified boys and girls soccer, varsity and modified boys and girls cross country varsity, JV and modified football and cheerleading and will be primarily played in Silver Creek with 80 percent of the cost of the programs being paid by Silver Creek.

Early release dates were added to the school calendar for kindergarten through eighth grade on April 10 and June 12.

The district entered into a contract with Erie 1 BOCES for classroom projectors for $22,817.

The board also approved resignations from Linda Berek as a teacher aide, School Secretary Michelle Tanner and long-term substitute Melissa Berry.

Appointments were approved as follows: Melissa Berry, elementary teacher; Jennifer Zbytek, elementary teacher; Katlyn Swanson, special education teacher; Joanna Connolly, music teacher; Kristen Foley, Christina Gervase, Amanda Haney, Mary Lang and Brandon Bernard as long-term substitutes; Roger Russell, summer cleaner; Jeanette Kilian, summer school LPN aide; Donna Roof, community education director; Emily Cole, substitute; Matthew Martin, substitute bus driver; and Kelli Gorman, mentor coordinator.

The board will meet again on Aug. 27.