Decision on school lunch increase pushed to August
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – A decision on whether the district will increase school lunch prices will have to wait another couple of weeks – this after the school board voted unanimously Monday, July 22, to table the issue until a special board meeting on Aug. 5.
The proposed change suggests increasing school lunch prices by a nickel across all school buildings.
The issue appeared on the agenda for the first time Monday night without being brought up for discussion at the board work session July 15.
Some board members didn’t feel comfortable voting on the issue without it going through what was called “the normal cycle” by Board Vice President Andrew Becker.
“This is about doing it right procedurally,” Becker said.
He wasn’t alone with his reservations.
“This isn’t honoring the process that we agreed to, and that is really what this about,” said board member Rhonda Sitnikau.
The proposed change would increase breakfast costs from $1.85 to $1.90. For lunch at the elementary level, prices would increase from $2.65 to $2.70, and middle and high school level prices would increase from $2.95 to $3.
Adult meals prices would also increase by five cents across the board.
A memo from the food service department was created earlier this month to bring the issue before the board. However, for reasons unknown, it didn’t make it on the working session agenda July 15.
There were many questions the board had, including the need for an increase, that were unanswerable because Lynette Zalec, director of food service, was unable to attend Monday night’s meeting.
“This is why Lynette being here is so important,” said board member Kristina Shelton.
The heed to vote on the proposed increase at the meeting Aug. 5 has much to do with the best way to notify families.
A Fall Education Connection newsletter is mailed out to all families in August in preparation for the upcoming school year, and in years passed the district included the school lunch prices.
In order to reach all 63,000 district households, Lori Blakeslee, director of communications for the district, said the newsletter is sent to the printer and mailed beginning the second week in August.
District Legal Counsel Melissa Thiel Collar said the district is required by law to inform all families of lunch prices.
Looking forward to the Aug. 5 vote, Sitnikau urged the board to consider all affected parties when voting on this issue.
“I know it’s five cents, but if you have multiple kids, if you aren’t a parent that qualifies for free or reduced lunch – there are a lot of people that are right on the edge of that – this does add up,”
Sitnikau said. “There are the people in the cracks that aren’t heard. Before we just flippantly say it’s five cents – I think we need to think about that.”