Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2018

Lunch account inches higher

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jul 18, 2018
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo Fairfield schools superintendent Laurie Noll, left, and school board president Warren Schaefer talk about the negative fund balance for student lunches during Monday’s school board meeting.

Fairfield Community School District food services director Stephanie Hawkins announced that the meal account for students that was once $36,700 in the hole is inching closer to being paid off. The deficit was $1,990 at the end of the fiscal year, and after the district received a check for $675, it’s now down to $1,330.

Hawkins said her goal was to have it down to zero by June 30. While that goal wasn’t met, she said it’s nice to know the finish line is in sight.

In years past, the district received negative comments about its school lunch debt on its audit, and began taking steps to remedy the problem in 2017.

On Dec. 1 of that year, the district began enforcing its meal charge policy, meaning the student would cease to receive a hot lunch after falling in debt by a certain amount ranging from $5-$15 depending on their grade. At the time it was implemented, 36 students were over the limit.

Donations to the school lunch program began pouring in. Vaju Moorthy prepares a meal every Friday in Phoenix Rising Hall, and in February began donating the proceeds from one lunch every month to the meal program. The first donation was for $1,319, and Moorthy has made several more of that size since then.

The school board recently altered its lunch account limit so it would be $15 for students in all grades. Once a student is $15 in debt, they will receive an “alternate meal” consisting of a sandwich, a piece of fruit and a carton of milk. However, only students in elementary and middle school will receive alternate meals. High school students more than $15 in debt will not receive a meal.

In other school news:

• Technology director John Grunwald told the school board at its meeting Monday that 10 laptops that were given to students during the 2017-18 school year are still missing. He said 500 were given out in all.

Grunwald said there are things the district can do to retrieve the computers. For instance, he can activate an alarm that forces the computer’s speakers to announce “This computer has been stolen” at high volume every 15 minutes. He said it does not render the computer useless, but it would make it inconvenient to use in public places.

School board president Warren Schaefer asked Grunwald what information he can gather about the 10 computers remotely. Grunwald said he can see when they access the internet, and some of them have not been online for weeks.

• Brittany Winslow was named head coach of the high school girls’ swimming team. Winslow started last season as the assistant coach under Hannah Baker, but became interim head coach when Baker went on maternity leave. Winslow is also the high school girls’ soccer coach.

• The board renewed its resource-sharing agreement with the city of Fairfield. The agreement, begun last summer, stipulated that school district facilities director Jeff Koontz would perform preventive maintenance on boilers and chillers at the Roosevelt Community Recreation Center, its aquatic center, and Fairfield Public Library. In return, the city would perform snow and tree removal for the school, and provide it with sand, salt and cold storage.

• Students will no longer receive a printed copy of the student handbook. Instead, they will receive an electronic version. Board member Frank Broz noted that the electronic version will better fit the students’ needs because it is searchable.

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