Mount Ida School District will require students to prepay for all meals in the upcoming school year according to a new policy change approved during Thursday’s school board meeting.
Interim Superintendent Tom Wilson presented the policy change along with others for the upcoming school year. Most changes were in response to changes in state legislation. In regards to the school lunch policy change, Wilson stated that it was the result of a recommendation made by the state department of education and the state school boards association.
the policy states that Mount Ida will no longer extend credit to students for meals. Parents are encouraged to prepay for breakfasts and lunches. If a student’s account is empty at the time a meal is eaten an unpaid meal will be given and parents will be notified by phone.
Payments may be made by check or cash. Parents can pay for breakfasts and lunches a week at a time if they wish. Breakfast is $1 per day, or $5 per week, and lunch is $2 per day, or $10 per week. If a student has qualified for reduced price meals breakfast will be 30 cents per meal, or $1.50 per week, and lunches will be 40 cents per meal, or $2 per week.
The school will also make courtesy calls when their student’s balance falls below $10. A personal call from the food services director will be made to the parent if a student receives an unpaid meal.
The district will only allow five unpaid meals per school year.
Many of the board members shared concern over the policy.
Shane Forga stated, “Y’all can’t not let the kids eat.”
School staff responded by explaining that they didn’t make the policy. They were just implementing what the state recommended.
Tim Efird asked if local churches could donate to a fund to help cover the cost of unpaid lunches.
Discussion then turned to free and reduced meal plans. Staff members on hand at the meeting stated that they hoped this policy might encourage some parents to fill out the free and reduced meal applications.
Mount Ida School District has been over 70 percent free and reduced lunches for a few years. They explained that they provide each student’s family with a copy of the application and they encourage everyone to submit the completed form.
Those who qualify may receive free meals, or meals at a reduced price. They school also receives additional funding based on the percentage of free/reduced meal plans they service.
In other business:
High School Superintendent Stephanie Dixon stated that progress on the Flex Mod schedule is coming along ahead of schedule. She added that the software purchased earlier in the year has been essential in the of the program.
She also reported that there were 16 students signed up to participate in the HUB program this year with the possibility of four more.
The board approved changes to the school handbooks.
The school has received bids for some concrete repairs needed at both campuses.
The board approved an employee disclosure formTerry Wisener and Ouachita Refrigeration.
The board approved a detailed chain of command for all school staff submitted by the interim superintendent.
The board was told that a recent audit went well with a routine mark for segregation of duties the only thing of importance mentioned.
The board voted to hold 2018 school board elections in May.