Pearland ISD increased meal prices starting next fall, though not by its own choice.
School board trustees last Monday agreed to raise meal prices for the first time in seven years, mainly because the district no longer qualifies for a waiver to keep prices level.
Approval of raising meal prices was part of the board’s consent agenda, pulled by Trustee Virgil Gant for discussion.
“Are we raising prices basically because we’re being told to?” Gant asked.
Yes, responded Superintendent John Kelly.
The district recently set aside $2 million from reserve balance for needed expansion and renovations to two campus kitchens and food service areas, Kelly explained, which ended up triggering the mandated increase.
“We had a waiver for two years, because we had what the federal government defines as an excess fund balance, but we’re spending that excess fund balance on the improvements to Shadycrest kitchen and then on Carleston (kitchen renovations) once it’s approved,” Kelly explained. “So we no longer have the excess, and now they are saying, ‘You are subject to the rule and your lunch and breakfast prices are too low.’”
Board members described the lunch price scenario as a good example of lack of local control. In its food service programs, the district must follow federal guidelines to receive reimbursements for free and reduced lunches, staff explained.
The school district’s Food Service Department expects to generate an additional $260,000 in annual sales by raising the price of lunch by 25 cents and the price of breakfast by 10 cents.
For the 2015-16 school year, paid lunches will cost $2.50 for elementary students; $2.75 for middle school students; $3 for junior high and high school students; and $3.50 for adults.
Paid breakfasts at all grade levels will be $1.35 for students and $1.60 for adults.
Other items approved from the consent agenda on April 21 included a contract through April 2016 for roof repair and maintenance with Pearland-based W.F. Hawk Roofing and Sheet Metal, Inc. on an as-needed basis. Estimated expenditures for this item are $65,000. The district sometimes extends a contract, but chose to re-bid it.
Also on the consent agenda, the board approved using an area co-op agreement for a previously approved purchase of 240 laptop computers and eight mobile computing carts for use at Berry Miller Junior High, Rogers, Jamison, Alexander and Sablatura middle schools. The agreement saves the school district more than $94,000 on the purchase, valued at $290,000. Funding for the purchase was approved as part of $3.8 million set aside for technology projects last August.