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Plymouth School Board Updated on School Food Program

February 16, 2011
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02/17/11 On Tuesday night, tie Plymouth School Board heard an report on the school corporation’s food service. Gloria Burnam, director of food service, presented an overview of the number of meals being served as well as mandates that will have to be incorporated into the food service with the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The legislation was passed in December of 2010.

Burnam said the National Standards were updated after 15 years and the new compliances will have to be met in the school year 2012-2013.

She said they will have to add ½ cup of fruit and 1 ounce of meat daily for breakfast. The lunch fruit and vegetable requirements will count as two components, adding an extra ½ to 1 cup serving each day. She indicated that the cost of the fresh produce will add costs to meals provided.

Other requirements include the stipulation that all grain items are whole grain, milk must be 1 percent or fat free, sodium limits reduced over the next ten years, and no trans fats used.

Burnam also informed the board that beginning July 1, 2011; schools are required to charge students for paid meals that are equal to the difference between free reimbursement and paid reimbursement. The free reimbursement is currently $2.78 for lunch. The paid reimbursement is 26 cents. This year student lunch prices at the elementary are $1.50 and $1.60 at the secondary level. Burnam said, “For us to meet this mandate, we are asking to increase meal prices.” She then recommended an increase of 15 cents ($1.15) for breakfast and an increase of 25 cents ($1.75, elementary and $1.85 secondary). The mandate requires at least a 10 cent raise in prices; however, Burnam asked for the larger increase saying, “Please consider these requests, as we have not increased meal prices for at least 15 years.” She said the cost including food, supplies and labor on average for breakfast is $1.04 and for lunch, $2.29.

Burnam said Plymouth has been among the lowest in the state in terms of meal prices. The board asked that she return next month for consideration of the increases.

Burnam said that during the period of August through January of the 2009-2010 school year, they served 52,960 breakfasts and 286,495 lunches. Those numbers increased during the same months in the current school year to 61,272 breakfasts and 293,283 lunches.

Burnam said, “Actually for Plymouth, there are not a lot of changes since we put in the Wellness policy five years ago.”

In other matters the board approved several resignations and appointments. Included in those was the resignation of Melissa DeFord, Plymouth High School English teacher, effective January 31, 2011; James Keister, Riverside Intermediate Athletic Director, effective June 10, 2011; Erin Fackler, Webster Elementary kindergarten teacher, effective February 25, 2011; and Pat Crum, Menominee Elementary Lunch Clerk, effective February 17, 2011. It was noted that Fackler is married to a member of the armed forces and is relocating with him.

PHS teacher John Kozlovich will assume a full-time position, up from a part-time position. superintendent Daniel Tyree said the extra hours will be used for credit recovery for students. He said PHS Principal Jim Condon had expressed the need to increase the graduation rate at a previous meeting. tree sad Kozlovich will also have an opportunity to work with Alternative School teacher Suzie Clevenger. Tyree said, “Clevenger has proven effective. Non-traditional classes are different.” Tyree said, “This will help students feel like they can graduate from high school.”

Plymouth High School Assistant Principal Andrew Hartley and teacher Kennedy Robinson shared the progress of the new course included this year in the PHS Offerings. Principals of Engineering, Project Lead the Way was added to help students understand the field of engineering and engineering technology and its career possibilities. Robinson said, “This program is designed to prepare students to compete globally.” Robinson informed the board that a 3-D printer will be added to the classroom Tuesday of next week that will allow students to design objects up to an 8 x 8 x 8 square.

Board member Frank Brubaker said, “This material used to be freshman college work.” Robinson said, at some point, they intend to partner with another school to design a project by only allowing students from each school to communicate through technology. Currently there are 43 students involved in the classes.

Lincoln Junior High Principal Dan Funston along with Industrial Technology teacher Steve Miller gave an overview of Project Lead the Way at the junior high level. Funston said all 571 students are involved with each student taking the class for nine weeks. Miller shared several pictures of students experimenting with various objects that they designed and tested. He led the board and the audience through the various steps needed to complete the design process.

Superintendent Tyree briefly outlined the summer school offerings. He said the school corporation will be getting reimbursement from the state for the programs. Summer school will be offered to grades 1 through 6. An extra offering will be Camp Intervention for two weeks rather than for the four weeks last summer. He said classes at LJH will be unchanged.

There will be two sessions of classes at the high school with the first running from June 6 through July 1 and the second, July 5 through August 1. Tyree said Broadcasting will be offered as a vocational class during the next school year, so they are adding language arts/speech classes to the summer offerings. Both Economics and Government can be competed online.

Tyree said, “We want to provide students with time for vacations and camps.”

PHS students will attend classes at LJH since there will be extensive installation of technology needs in preparation for the 1-1 computers at PHS for the 2011-2012 school year.

Tyree said the Indiana Department of Education will not be allowing any waivers for snow days. Students are required to attend school for 180 days each year. Tyree said, “We only have three. There are schools in Indianapolis with 10 to 12.”

 He announced that students will be attending classes in the Plymouth system on April 1 and June 3 to makeup the days when schools were closed due to weather conditions.

The board voted 4-0 to allow Washington Elementary teachers to train for Project Based Learning. Washington will offer the program at a newly formed Washington Discovery Academy in the 2012-2013 school year. Board member Larry Holloway was absent from the meeting.

Tyree said they will be holding parental meetings on the matter. He said there may be a demand for a second school to offer project based instruction.

They also approved advertising for a technology position with Apple Certification. PHS and LJH students will each have individual computers next year. Tyree said having someone on staff trained in Apple will allow repairs more quickly. He said having a trained apple technology person staff will save them $24,000 in the first year, $36,000 it the second year, and $48,000 in the third year for lease payments.

Tyree requested and was given permission to conduct a feasibility study for building improvements for the new Plymouth Tech High School. The Tech High School will be housed in the current PHS building, but will operate as a school within a school. Tyree said he has gotten calls from architects who are “hungry for work” concerning the improvements. The board granted permission to proceed with the study. One of the sites being considered for improvement is currently housing the swimming pool. It has been noted in several meetings that repairs to the pool for safety reasons could reach $2.5 million.

Tyree explained that there is a group discussing the possibility of building a community pool in the park. Board President Melissa Christiansen expressed her belief that kids need to learn how to swim and that Plymouth needs to be competitive in swimming. After some discussion, it was noted that the architects and or engineers looking at possible sites for the New Tech High School could make recommendations concerning the safety of the current pool.

The board approved by unanimous vote to grant permission to sign a contract with the New Tech. Tyree said one-half of the funding will come from grants and the rest from donations from the community. Board member Todd Samuelson questioned the funding saying, “We don’t have the luxury of time to reverse the order and have donations first?” Tyree explained that there are deadlines that have to be met and shared his belief that the needed donations can be obtained.

Tyree also offered his concerns on legislation being proposed at the state level. He said, “People who have always watched legislation have no idea where to look.” He said he was concerned about charter schools, vouchers, and payments for early graduates. He said, as he has in other meetings, that local monies could be used for schools in Marion County and specifically Indianapolis schools. He said charter schools and private schools are not bound to take 504 students, special education students, or ENL (English as a New Language) students.

Tyree said, “I get the feeling that in a couple of years we are going to say, “What happened?”

Tyree informed the board that Plymouth will be an ACT (American College Testing) testing site in 2012-2013. He said, “I believe I saved $60 to $70 thousand in tuition since my kids took the ACT test.” Many colleges and universities are using results from ACT test in determining admissions for students.

Correspondent Carol Anders

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