Greencastle Community School students will be seeing an increase in meal prices next year and likely again in coming years.
Food service director Linda Nelson told the Greencastle School Board on Wednesday that federal regulations are coming that will force the corporation to raise its lunch prices. The federal government wants schools to receive as much in reimbursement for paid lunches as it does for students who receive free and reduced lunches.
"This is not something I want to do," Nelson said. "It's the first time I've been told -- and not by the superintendent -- to raise prices."
Currently, the school receives $2.72 for free and reduced lunches -- $.40 in pay from the students and $2.32 in federal reimbursement. As such, the new regulations will require the corporation to charge at least $2.72 for full-priced lunches.
Since current prices are an average of $2.20, and the price increase can be worked in over several years, the board agreed to raise the price to $2.25 for next school year.
The school will also be raising breakfast prices, but not because of federal regulations.
"We're losing money on breakfast," Nelson said.
She figured the average cost of a breakfast, both to buy and prepare the food, to be $1.55. By contrast, they charge only $1.10.
To narrow this gap, the prices will go up $1.20 next year.
The board approved 27 personnel items, most notable among them the hiring of Scott Weltz as GMS assistant principal and the retirement of teachers Mike VanRensselaer, Deborah Fenoglio, Anne Graham, Jill Green and Carolyn Ruark and Bob Green as superintendent.
There was also discussion during the meeting of excluding Bob Green from the early retirement bonus approved for all retiring certified staff at a recent special meeting. While discussing the minutes of the meeting, Kelly Lewis, who had voted for the measure originally, moved that Green be excluded.
The question was posed to school attorney Bob Rund if such a measure would be legal.
"I think legally you could. Whether that's wise or prudent is a totally different issue," Rund said.
With the topic having been so contested during both the special meeting and Wednesday's regular meeting, Green requested the opportunity to comment.
"I offered twice during that meeting to be excluded," Green said. "I'm highly offended about the way the whole thing was handled. If you want to exclude me, that's fine, but I want the matter put to bed."
No one seconded Lewis's motion, so it did not come to a vote.