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School lunch prices to increase

On Tuesday night, the Archuleta School District 50 Joint school board held a quintessentially May end-of-term meeting: short on business, but long on recognizing student achievement.

The first portion of the meeting recognized student achievements in various end-of-year competitions involving knowledge and skill.

Following the recognition of the students, the board dealt with brief district business.

Of note, district business manager Janell Wood provided a quarterly financial report that indicated the district was doing well despite a drop in revenues due to uncollected property taxes.

Laura Rand, the district’s food service supervisor, reported that, due to federal reauthorization of the school lunch program (the Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, signed into law by President Barack Obama late last year), not only had food prices been raised, but part of the act mandated an increase in school lunch prices.

The changes to school meal standards add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat milk to school meals. The reauthorization also limits the levels of saturated fat, sodium, calories and trans fats in meals.

“As part of the reauthorization, I’m required to raise the price by at least five cents,” Rand said.

Rand proposed raising the price for student lunches by 25 cents and 50 cents for adult lunches because, as she said, “It’s hard to raise it by five cents, we just don’t hold onto a lot of nickels.”

The prices would go into effect during the next school year (2011-2012) and would not effect school breakfast prices. Rand also said that the price increase would not affect students receiving free and reduced lunches.

Currently, according to Rand, 54 percent of the district’s students are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program, but added that “there’s a lot more in the district who probably qualify but haven’t filled out the paperwork.”

With a unanimous vote, the board approved the price hike.

In June, the board will grapple with weightier matters as next year’s budget is presented (the board meets June 14 at 6 p.m. in the district’s Maintenance and Transportation building, located south of the high school). Given the gravity of next month’s meeting agenda, the board appeared all to pleased to recognize the students who had excelled in various state and regional competitions during the past few months.

The highlight of the meeting was the recognition of student achhievement.

Attending the meeting and representing the Archuleta County Education Center, Dave Richardson said, “These kids are the future of this county. I don’t know why these kids aren’t on the front page of the paper every week. They’re a heck of a lot more important than anything the county commissioners do or anyone else does.”

The board agreed with Richardson. Director Joanne Irons (who had attended one of the competitions) told the audience that Pagosa Springs had been called up as winners in six out of seven categories — out of nearly 300 opponents at the competition.

“These kids are just amazing,” said board president Linda Lattin. “This is not athletics, but kids using their brains.”

District superintendent Mark DeVoti added, “We talk about scores and assessments all the time. This (the competitions) is an assessment tool. This tells us how these kids are doing with their 21st-century skills that we talk so much about.”

Honored at Tuesday’s board meeting were participants in the state Destination Imagination (DI) competition: Grace Thompson, Sydney Mitchell, Celia Taylor, Julie Taylor, Olivia Gilbert, Alec Fulbright, Liberty Chastain, Michael Iverson, Chance Pierce, Briar Erskine, Sam Chronowski, Molly Burkesmith, Carrie Kuhns, Jacqueline Hampton, Blake Irons, Brooke Bowdridge, Miah Pitcher, Hannah Hemenger, Hayley Mitchell, Addie Thompson, Brooke Hampton, Dean Hampton, Garek Erskine, Isaiah Thompson, Gabby Pajak, Zach Graveson, Thane Trumble, Mikaela Marchand, Allison Kuhns, Brayden Mitchell, Jacob Manzanarez, Maya Herzog, Kitman Gill and Ben Reece.

DI teams that qualified for Globals were Imaginators 6, Double Back Trackers and Spazztastic.

The board also recognized (and thanked DI coaches Marcy Mitchell, Becky Thompson, Linda Erskine, Lisa Chastain, Cheryl Bowdridge, Julia Hampton, Sally High, Kelly Trumble, Susan Kuhns and Linda Gill.

The following Future Business Leaders of America members qualified for and participated at the State FBLA competition: Kelsea Anderson (who also qualified for nationals), Evans Brookens, Jerica Caler, Megan Davey, Devyn Doctor, Markus Garbiso, Rose Graveson, Mary Haynes, Dylan Koch, Katie Laverty, Mele LeLievre, Tayler McKee, Austin Miller, Danielle Pajak, Crystal Purcell, Kalie Ray, Garrett Stoll, Sarah Stuckwish, Silas Thompson and Jennie White.

Two History Day projects qualified for state. They were Jennifer Smith and Michelle Parker who took second place for their project, Coleman Smith and Ben Bard who placed first for their project.

The following Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) members competed at the state competition, with every competitor placing within the Top 10 in at least one of their events: Kalie Ray (who qualified for nationals), Natasha Medici, Jennie White, Alix Herrera, Mary Haynes (qualified for nationals), Danielle Pajak (qualified for nationals), Daryn Butler (qualified for nationals), Denise Espinosa (qualified for nationals), Tristen Bennett, Kim Hunsicker (qualified for nationals), Melissa Hollowell (qualified for nationals), Crystal Purcell (qualified for nationals), Breanna Voorhis, Joseph Onello, Eli Velasquez, (qualified for nationals), Everett DeGraaf (qualified for nationals), Seth Hansen (qualified for nationals), Kaylee Fitzwater, Carly Romnes (qualified for nationals), Alexa Alexander (qualified for nationals) and Shelby Nordendahl (qualified for nationals).

With the final school board meeting of the 2010-2011 school year, the board was obviously pleased to end the school year recognizing the numerous students excelling this past year in various academic competitions.

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