At their May 21 meeting, Vassalboro School Board members reluctantly voted to raise the bill for a full-price school lunch from $2.75 this year to $2.85 for the 2019-2020 school year.
A food service memo requested the increase, explaining that it is required by the federal government, whose officials found almost a decade ago that schools were undercharging for paid meals.
Federal money reimburses Vassalboro $3.31 for each free lunch and 31 cents for each paid lunch. Vassalboro should charge the $3 difference, so that reimbursement for free meals no longer subsidizes paid meals. A federal calculator sets 10 cents a meal as the maximum annual increase until the $3.00 figure is reached. Failure to comply could lead to loss of federal funds.
On another topic, Superintendent Alan Pfeiffer said the board can choose to extend Title I services to all students, instead of only to those identified as needing extra academic support. The federal Title I program is intended to help disadvantaged students, those at risk of not doing well in school for any of a variety of social or individual reasons.
In the plan is approved, Curriculum Coordinator Mary Boyle said, Title I staff can work with students before they fall behind. She and Principal Megan Allen agreed staff would be working differently, not more, so there would be no cost increase.
Boyle is under contract with Vassalboro as a holdover from former AOS (Alternative Educational Structure) #92. School board members intend to review the three-year contract with the former AOS at a future meeting –probably not at the June 18 board meeting, Pfeiffer said, as shared personnel will be very busy with end-of-school work.
In other business May 21, board members accepted with regret resignations of Educational Technician Ellen Goodrich and bus driver Rosalie Woods and hired bus driver Clayton Rice.
They approved moving five first-year probationary teachers to second year; four second-year probationary teachers to third year; nine more from third-year probation to continuing contracts; and three from continuing to annual contracts.
They approved a 2019-2020 school calendar and a school board meeting schedule.
This year, school will end with a half day of classes on June 18, later than originally expected because of five snow days.
Before school is out, voters will have acted on the 2019-2020 budget twice, at the open town meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 3, at the school and again at the June 11 budget validation written-ballot vote.
The June 11 ballot includes local elections, with School Board members Jessica Clark and Kevin Levasseur unopposed for re-election. Voting will be at the town office, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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