PARKERSBURG - Wood County Board of Education members want to know exactly how much revenue an increase is school meal prices is expected to generate.
The board Tuesday approved a roughly 10 percent increase in prices for the 2011-12 school year. Members voted 4-1 to put the prices into effect, but several members grumbled the increase was presented after the district had created its 2011-12 budget and no clear revenue amount was presented when the price increase was first asked for earlier this month.
The prices approved Tuesday for the 2011-12 school year are:
Student, all grade levels: $1.10, up from $1.
Student, all grade levels, Reduce Priced Meal: 30 cents, no change, price set by USDA.
Elementary Student: $1.60, up from $1.45.
Middle and High School Student: $1.75, up from $1.60.
Second Meal, all grades: $2.15, up from $2.
Student, all grade levels, Reduce Priced Meal: 40 cents, no change, price set by USDA.
Adult Breakfast: $2.80, up from $2.70.
Adult Lunch: $3.75, up from $3.50.
Second Meals for adults are the same price as the first meal
Milk, 8 ounce bottle: 30 cents, no change.
Juice, when substituted for milk, two 4 ounce juice: 30 cents, no change.
Water, 16 ounce bottle: 75 cents, no change.
Milk, 16 ounce bottle, vending machine: 75 cents, no change.
Board member Rick Olcott questioned whether the increase would actually raise revenue for the program, and if so by how much. Olcott pointed out 54 percent of the district's students were enrolled in the federal free and reduced price meal program.
The program also continues to show several hundred thousand dollars in unpaid meal bills, only a fraction of which can be reclaimed through legal means.
"I am deeply troubled by the whole program," Olcott said.
Board member John Marlow, who voted against the price increases, said his opposition was based on its timing. Food Service Director Beverly Blough asked for the increase after the district's 2011-12 budget had been reviewed and reviewed. The new budget does not include the potential increase in revenue.
"Why are we now asking for the increase instead of waiting for next year's budgeting process?" Marlow said.
Superintendent Pat Law said he believed information Blough used to make the decision, such as federal reimbursement amounts, was not available during the state-mandated budgeting process time window.
Law said he would bring additional information to the board at a future meeting.