SAD 21 board ups price for meals

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DIXFIELD – SAD 21 board members on Monday voted to raise the cost of breakfast and lunch beginning with the new school year.

Directors also approved the appointment of a local man as the high school’s newest assistant principal and athletic director.

Although breakfast and lunch prices were raised, board Chairman Rick Colpitts said the district itself may have to invest in the lunch program in the future.

The lunch program is supposed to be self-sustaining, meaning that labor costs, as well as food costs, should be covered by lunch fees and federal subsidies.

Marge Kennedy, food service director, said that’s not happening. “The subsidy and fees are not enough to make up for the cost of a meal,” she said.

Superintendent Tom Ward said the lunch program has operated in the red for the past couple of years.

“We’ve got to do more to pick up these costs,” he said.

Concerns were also raised that youngsters are not offered enough healthy food and that sometimes food choices run out before all children are served.

Kennedy said every child does receive a lunch, but if the child does not sign up, he or she may not get the meal they would prefer.

Tracy Chartier, a substitute teacher in the district, said many parents, teachers and students have spoken with her about these concerns.

“We want to see low fat, low sugar and higher fiber foods. There are too many prepackaged, processed foods,” she said. “I don’t see a lot of healthy eating going on.”

Kennedy said many food items, such as bread sticks and pizza crust, are made from whole wheat, and other items are made from soy.

“We don’t have a lot of fresh foods, fruits and veggies because of the high price in this area,” she said.

She said the cost to buy, prepare and serve each meal is $2.71. With the higher prices set Monday, the actual cost still won’t be fully met, but it will help.

As approved, breakfast at all schools will go to $1 from 75 cents; lunches go to $2 for high school students, from $1.75; and to $1.75 from $1.50 for elementary and middle school students. Adult’s lunches will be $3.

The board also appointed Charles Swan, a 1995 graduate of Dirigo High School, as the high school’s assistant principal and athletic director, following a 45-minute closed session. He replaces Jeff Turnbull, who resigned during the past school year.

Swan is a graduate of Eastern College in Philadelphia with degrees in history and multi-culturalism, received his administrative certificate from the University of Phoenix, and has taught in St. Louis and at the International School in South Korea.

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