Kristy Carlson, the head cook for the school district, reported to the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn School Board about the concerns of rising food costs, and possible action to reduce lunch program costs. There is no consistency with the commodities provided to public schools and to what costs would be. She doesn't even know what commodities would be available.
Several examples of prices were provided to the board. Most have risen a third or doubled. Cheese really has elevated in price as well as meat. It will be a challenge to provide balanced meals although regulation for the ounces of meat is not that great, four ounces.
Breakfasts are also watched closely and although one breakfast menu can be 66 cents, that didn't include labor. Most are more costly. Meat will be another concern of where the cost will go and what help the government will provide.
Carlson did advocate some cuts in labor as with the new kitchen on site some time for employees would be reduced. She noted that hot dog and hamburger buns could be purchased cheaper than making from scratch which would save some labor costs. The cooks would still make dinner rolls, bread and cinnamon rolls.
When state inspectors visited the last time, they suggested to Carlson that in order to save on labor, they wouldn't need to dip up all of the food that they do. Students could help themselves to what they wanted. She commented that way too much food is thrown away as students do not eat their vegetables or fruit as they should. Dollars would be saved on purchases as kids only eat what they like. The board heard that they do like raw veggies with ranch dip.
Favorite menus include either pizza, hamburgers, hot dogs or taverns.
This raIsed the issue of whether students should receive one or two sandwiches or whether they should get one and if they wanted a second one, they would be charged 75 cents. Milk bids are not certain yet. The board decided to wait until a special meeting to be held on Monday, June 30, to make a decision on all fees for the coming school year.
The hot lunch program is supposed to fiance itself but several years back, they had a deficit. Therefore, the board has transferred funds to the hot lunch fund. For the last three years, that amount has dwindled. for the coming year, only $12,000 will be transferred. The administration is hopeful, the program will be out of the red in a very few years. The deficit happen due to equipment failure and the need for replacement.
There is some old equipment that would no longer be used and the board decided to sell the used equipment to Hobart, a company that serves MMC needs. They have also moved some of the equipment and provide good service.
The new ovens will each stand on the floor rather than stacked in twos as in the old kitchen due to space difficulties. Each will have more even heat to bake in. The board is hoping more costs will be known as they don't want to raise it any more than what really is needed, yet they must cover costs.
In other business, the board approved some contracts for the coming school year. Sharlene Duncan of Correctionville has been hired to teach science such as biology and advanced biology as well as physical science for grades seven through twelve. This will complete the staffing of science teachers for the Junior/Senior High School
Heather Renee Koth of Paullina was hired to instruct art full time for grades kindergarten through third and for grades seven through twelve. The board released Nancy Veit as art instructor, so that she can take a part-time position teaching art in Paullina , allowing Koth to go full-time at MMC.
Kristy Carlson, head cook, received a 50 cents per hour raise; Vickie Rainboth, transportation director, received a 4 percent pay raise. School staff members were granted 4 percent pay raises. The summer school staff members were also granted a 4 percent pay raise.
The administration will be conducting interviews for two elementary positions this coming week. Supt. Jan Brandhorst noted that there were many to select from for interviewing. He also said an art instructor is needed for grades four through six as well as a couple for cheerleader sponsors.
The student handbooks are nearly completed but the board decided to wait until a special meeting on Monday, June 30 at 7:30 a.m. to set the fees and go over the handbook.
Brandhorst reported on the construction progress. In the next couple of weeks, the building should be ready for cleaning so all the furnishings can be moved in. The project is coming in right on costs in a timely fashion..
The board discussed the fitness room in great length. The board agreed that a key card would control who would be in the room and a camera on the premises would monitor what is happening there. Safety is a major issue as they don't want someone in there using equipment improperly.
There are some community members who would be interested in helping to purchase some weight equipment while others may have a piece of equipment in their homes they might want to donate. The weight room will be used by students and adults in the community. No young child will be permitted to be in there. The board expressed a desire to make sure the room fills a wellness purpose for teens and adults. It's uncertain when it will open. They know many will seek out the facility to use.
Board President Rachel Holmes will serve on a committee composed of MMC districts' citizens to come up with ideas on what they want to see in the room and help plan its use.
The board also heard a safety report from EMC Insurance Company . He thought the administration had come up with some good plans but could tweak them somewhat. Permanent signs should be up before school begins. Yellow lines should be painted on the sidewalk where buses would load and unload students. No children should walk between buses. Where there is a concrete cutout in the walk, it should be filled in with cement. It would look attractive but it could be a hazard for stepping off and difficult for snow removal. The east parking lot is for stafff parking only and traffic will run one way.
A north-south sidewalk will need to be built adjacent to the stop sign on the west side of Ash Street. and cross walks painted in on Fenton and Beech Streets. Information on safety should be passed onto parents prior to school starting.
The weather has been detrimental in getting the baseball field lights up. They hope to get back at it very shortly.
The gym floor is of some concern, The district fulfilled their role in getting the old wood floor up and removed. Yet, when the supervisor of the company that will put in the new floor showed up, he noted the floor had some moisture trapped between the cement and the rubber membrane. Also, the cement may need to be leveled in spots with a liquid cement as it will be crucial for the wood floor to lay smoothly. It is unknown when the company will work the MMC floor into its schedule.