School raises lunch credit limit
by Gregory R. Norfleet · News · September 21, 2012

Families can wait until their child’s school lunch account reaches a negative-$40 balance before the district takes measures against them, following action last week by the school board.

The West Branch Board of Education unanimously voted Sept. 10 to change its Nutrition Program Policy, which had given families up to a negative-$10 balance before changing a child’s lunch.

Superintendent Kevin Hatfield said the alternative lunch has to meet nutrition requirements and that it may include chicken nuggets, a fruit and a drink, but their may be variations.

Families would be charged 50 cents for each of the alternative meals, so their balance will continue to increase as long as their children continue to take school lunches.

Business Manager Angie Morrison said there are eight families with negatives balances.

“I’d hate to see them $100 in the hole,” she said.

In a memo to school board members, the administration said “we feel it is fair” to set the lower balance limit.

“We feel that with having a majority of ‘family’ accounts, it makes sense to have a little more leniency when it goes in the red,” reads the memo.

Morrison said she encourages families to sign up for free- and reduced-price lunches if their incomes make them eligible.

In other business, the board:

• Learned that Central Office would return to campus on Oct. 1, saving $425 a month now spent renting office space at Community State Bank. The superintendent’s office moved off campus in July 2009 to make room for class space when Hoover Elementary became overcrowded. Space opened up again when fifth-grade classrooms moved to renovated space at West Branch Middle School in August. Central Office will return to its previous space near the Hoover gymnasium.

• Reorganized itself, re-electing Mike Owen to the presidency again. Owen is beginning his fifth year as board president. Kathy Knoop was re-elected vice president. Richard Paulus was appointed to the Johnson County Conference Board; Owen appointed himself to the Cedar County Conference Board; and Deb Schreiber was appointed to the Iowa Association of School Board’s Delegate Assembly.

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