School Board Approves Meal Price Increase

Published 3:16 pm Thursday, March 29, 2012

      Members of the Picayune Municipal Separate School District board approved a motion to increase meal prices by 25 cents.

      Tuesday’s board meeting also included announcements about the success of some of the high school’s programs and Parents of the Year for each school and the district’s Parent of the Year.

      Food Service Director, Debbie Schmidt, in a memo to the board, requested a 25-cent increase on all meals due to a 40 percent increase in food costs and production supplies in addition to new USDA meal pattern requirements.

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The board approved the request, putting meal prices at $1.25 for student breakfasts and $2.25 for student lunches. Adult breakfasts will cost $2.05 and adult lunches will cost $3.25.

      High school drama teacher Bill Rester and high school dance team instructor Ashley Stockstill gave presentations to the board about numerous awards both organizations earned during the school year. Each instructor brought in a group of students, all holding numerous awards. Then each instructor thanked the school board for its support for each program.

“For me, being able to do this every year is a blessing,” Rester said.

High School Assistant Principal Pat Smith introduced the board to seven high school students who scored a 30 or higher on the ACT test. Smith said on average only 0.04 percent of high school students nationwide score a 30 or higher on the ACT each year. This year, one Picayune High student scored a 34, out of a possible 36, and another scored a 33. The seven students who score a 30 or higher are Jackson Cole, Tiffany DeVore, Chelsea Cascho, Damien Helgason, Luke Lawson, Jesse Pfadenhauer and Chad Porter.

      Each principal in the district introduced their school’s choices for Parent of the Year. Picayune Memorial High School chose Ronnie Sanford, the Junior High chose Ursula Whitehead Spriggs, Nicholson Elementary chose Deborah Pittman, Roseland Park Elementary chose Jennifer Burks, South Side Lower Elementary chose Leah Warino, South Side Upper chose Brandi Piazza and West Side Elementary chose Andrea Cooley. Sanford was chosen from the group as the District Parent of the Year.

      Board members discussed charging every organization and group that sought to use school facilities for their use. Superintendent Dean Shaw said in the past some organizations have had facility use fees waived, but he recommended charging every organization for the use of the district’s facilities. That recommendation came during a discussion of Pearl River County Community Band’s request to have the fees waived for an upcoming event. Shaw said the current fee schedule for nonprofit organizations, such as the Community Band, includes a $250 refundable deposit, $325 rental fee and $300 custodian fee to use the district facilities. For profit organizations are required to pay a $600 rental fee, though other fees remain the same.

      A motion to charge the Community Band the full fee schedule failed with board members Ray Scott and Jimmy Hancock voting for the motion and Edward Stubbs, Frank Feeley and Patti Stewart voting against it. Feeley then made a motion to charge the group the custodian fee, which passed with Feeley, Stubbs and Stewart voting for it and Hancock and Scott voting against it.

      The board went into executive session to discuss a legal matter, a student discipline matter and a reduction in force. Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said he could not comment on the action taken by the board after executive session concerning the legal matter and the student discipline matter, but said the reduction in force dealt with terminating a high school social studies position because there were too many of those positions.

      However, Harrell said that though there is a teacher in the position eliminated, the district hopes that because of normal year-to-year attrition there will be a position for the teacher during the next school year.