RANCHESTER — Sheridan County School District 1 board members approved increases to its school lunch prices Wednesday.
SCSD1 business manager Jeremy Smith said the increase reflects the rising cost of food for the district.
Smith noted that the district hasn’t raised the costs for its school lunches in two years.
The increases range from $0.15 to $0.60, depending on the type of meal being purchased. For example, a lunch at Big Horn Elementary School currently costs $2.95 for students, but will increase to $3.10 per student. A lunch at the district’s secondary schools, which include the middle and high schools, currently costs $3.25 per student, but will increase to $3.40 with the changes approved Tuesday.
Board member Penny Barkan noted that while school district employees haven’t seen raises over the last couple of years, neither have the parents of the district’s students.
Smith agreed, but said the increases are small and they still won’t cover the true cost of providing meals for students. He added that the district subsidizes its lunch program with money from the general fund budget each year. That subsidy typically sits at about $80,000 per year.
“Food service is still a net loser (for the district),” Smith said. “Sales do not cover the food costs or the cost of labor.”
While Smith said the school district is efficient in its food service, the board and district leadership has been working to reduce the subsidy of the service, which is about average for districts similar in size around the state.
In other business:
• An attendee asked the district where it stands on establishing a wrestling program at the high school level. Board chair Gary Reynolds said the district is still gathering data and will likely consider the program at its September meeting.
• The board approved a $15,000 donation to the Tongue River Valley Joint Powers Board to help with administrative costs associated with the effort to bring a natural gas pipeline to the Tongue River Valley.
• Superintendent Marty Kobza received permission from the board to approach the town of Ranchester about annexing the district’s bus barn. Kobza said as the way state statute is currently written, the bus barn wouldn’t be eligible for the natural gas pipeline because it is not part of a municipality. The annexation would resolve that issue. In addition, annexing the property would allow the district to hook on to municipal water and sewer services.