Friday, August 12, 2011

Mushers put a team together, after all

School board approves student lunch fee increase

Express Staff Writer

The Camas County High School Mushers ended up with enough athletes to field a football team this year, negating the need for Wood River High School to adopt the school's football players.

"We're kind of happy about that," Camas County Principal Jeff Rast said Thursday. "For eight-man football, we can actually make it. We've got 11 or 12 that turned out so far and we might pick up a couple more when school starts. But gosh, we've only got 17 boys in the high school."

Allowing Mushers to play at Wood River was on the agenda for Tuesday night's meeting of the Blaine County School District board of trustees, but was removed as an action item when board Chair Steve Guthrie reported that the provision would not be necessary.

In other business, the school board unanimously approved raising the price of student lunches by 10 cents.

District Business Manager Mike Chatterton explained that the increase was necessitated by new requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture National School Lunch Program, which reimburses school districts for lunches provided free or at reduced cost for qualifying students.

Chatterton said the Agriculture Department is concerned that many school districts are charging less per lunch than is being reimbursed. He said that currently the Blaine County School District is reimbursed $2.77 per free meal, while the district's average price for a meal is $2.26.

"What the federal government is saying is we don't think it's fair that free kids, the kids on free or reduced lunches, are actually subsidizing the kids that are paying full price," Chatterton said.

He said the Agriculture Department will allow school districts to raise lunch prices at 10-cent increments until the charged price is equivalent with the reimbursed amount.

In other business, Guthrie announced that the school board is considering adding a second routine monthly meeting to its calendar. He said the meetings would be "board work sessions" to help trustees better understand upcoming issues.

The issue will be further discussed by trustees at special board meeting set for Monday, Aug. 22, at 5:30 p.m.

Terry Smith:

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