by Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette — Changes are coming to the Lewiston-Porter school breakfast and lunch programs, and it could leave parents with questions.
The district school board voted to replace the current policy with an updated one recently, effectively ending the ability of some students to charge lunches against an account without adequate funds.
“We had to get a handle on charging,” Assistant Superintendent Don Rappold said following the district’s board meeting earlier this month. “It’s a problem every school district has. The student comes through the line and doesn’t have enough money to buy a lunch. But at the end of the year, the students don’t make up the difference.”
Rappold said the district’s lunch program, which is supposed to be self-sustaining, has needed to infuse money from the general fund, sometimes as much as $20,000, to balance out the unpaid charges by students of all ages not having current accounts.
To combat the problem, the new policy limits who can and how often a student can charge without money. Adults and high school students will no longer have the ability at all, while middle school children may have up to two reimbursable meals. Elementary students receive three.
What won’t happen under the new policy, though, is children going without a meal. Even if they aren’t allowed any more charges, students will be able to receive either a peanut butter and jelly or American cheese sandwich and a lunch-sized container of 1 percent milk. Children with documented allergies will receive alternatives.
Snacks are a different story, though. The policy keeps students from purchasing snacks on district credit, Superintendent Christopher Roser said.
The new policy will take effect at the beginning of the third marking period, which begins the week of Jan. 28.
In other district news, Roser said work on emergency repairs to the middle school pool, part of a $2.5 million capital improvement project voters approved this past May, were to be completed soon.
He said the pool should be up and running by the third marking period, if not sooner.
“The people who’ve been doing the work have been doing a solid job,” he said.
He also reminded the board it would need to set a date for a second referendum concerning the project, which would ask voters to approve financing for the second phase of the capital project. It is expected to be much more expensive than the $2.5 million project currently being completed.