DOBSON — The Surry County Board of Education’s meeting Monday in the Surry Early College High School of Design auditorium included a diverse agenda which saw action on school lunch prices as well as improvement projects to several schools and recognition of students achievements.
Reluctantly, the board followed a presentation of options to bring the district in line with requirements of the Federal Healthy Hungar Free Kids Act (HHFK) on by raising school lunch prices for elementary schools from $1.90 to $2 and from $2.10 to $2.20 for high schools and middle schools effective in the 2013-14 school year. Director of Child Nutrition Sherri Parks told the board the county program is experiencing a decrease in participation and supplemental sales. Surry County’s free and reduced participation rate is 63 percent.
She said participation in the program has decreased 4.4 percent compared to the 2011-12 school year. Parks suggested the decrease may be due to the 2012-13 price increase and some of the changes to school meals as a result of dietary requirements of the HHFK. Parks said changes from earlier items to more whole grain, whole wheat and items containing much less salt may be so different from what is eaten at home, so participants are just not comfortable with the options offered.
Parks told the board school systems across the nation also have experienced a decrease in meal participation and cautioned them that a meal price increase for 2013-14 could further decrease participation and an additional loss of revenue. Parks told the board it had an option to use non-federal monies from its general fund to supplement the program so the mandated Minimum Average Price would not have to be met.
She shared 2012-13 school lunch prices from other areas for comparison. According to information from Parks, Mount Airy City Schools charged $2.10 for elementary meals and $2.35 for high school and middle school. This district has a free and reduced lunch participation rate of 51.69 percent.
Yadkin County charges $2 for elementary lunches and $2.25 for middle and high school meals with a total of 48.82 percent participating in free and reduced lunches. Stokes County’s prices are $2 for elementary lunches and $2.25 for middle and high school meals. The free and reduced meal participation rate for the system is 40.81 percent.
In other action, the board approved a bid from Commercial Air Systems, Inc. of $32,400 for completion of the air conditioning project of the Flat Rock Elementary School gymnasium.
Following a discussion of the results of bidding for the White Plains Elementary School roofing project from Schools Superintendent Dr. Travis Reeves and Director of Plant Operations Robert Draughn, AAR Inc. of Kernersville was chosen as the general contractor for the project contingent on approval of funding from the Board of County Commissioners. The low bid from the firm to re-shingle and install a standing seam metal roof on the school was $674,036.
Four students were recognized for participating in the Duke University Talent Identification Program’s Seventh Grade Talent Search. Duke TIP works with students, their families and educators to get students to reach their highest potential. Candidates are invited to take the ACT or the SAT college entrance exams to gain insight into their academic abilities. The students congratulated were Central Middle’s Preston Nassar and Mackenzie Boyles and Pilot Mountain Middle students Daphne Dotson and Robert Joyce.
The board congratulated Rockford Elementary student Abe Martinez and Cora Perryman from Westfield Elementary for having their art designs selected for print in the 2013-2014 North Carolina Farm to School Calendar. The contest received more than 2,370 entries from 43 counties. The program promotes agriculture in the state with student artwork.
Pilot Mountain Middle School’s Battle of the Books team and Coach Rene Mosley were recognized by the board for advancing to regional competition. Presenter Sonia Dickerson told the board for three of six years the PMMS teams have advanced to the state level. In 2010, the team placed second in state and captured the state title in 2011. The team is set to compete Thursday at UNCG for another chance at a state title.
Members of the board of education also congratulated six students for their success in the N.C. Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center science and mathematics competitions. The students were selected as regional science fair winners and also participated in the state competition. Surry Early College students Brittney Mauck and Lauren Henderson were honored for placing second in the Senior Division Engineering and Technology competition. Their project was titled “I Will Never Let Go.”
Surry Central’s Christine Hawks and Bethany Rollins captured first place in the Engineering and Technology Senior Division with a project titled “Gone with the Wind.” Hunter Ayers, also from Surry Central, was second in the Senior Biological Science A division with a project titled “Deer Tracks,” and Wes Tucker of Pilot Mountain Elementary School won in the Elementary Division with a project titled “Need a Lift?”
The board also approved to grant an easement to the North Carolina Department of Transportation for a small area of the East Surry High School property for the Old Westfield Road bridge replacement. The DOT will close the ramp and a portion of the road in this area for an estimated 18 months to replace the bridge. The proposed detour route will be from U.S. 52 to Cook School Road and then to Matthews Road.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.