School board decides on free carton milk

This article submitted by Peter Jacobson on 8/4/98.

Students in grades one through three will be receiving free carton milk for their break during the 1998-99 school year. This decision was made by the Paynesville Area School Board during their regular meeting Tuesday, July 28, and is expected to cost the district approximately $5,000 for the coming year.

During the last school year, the milk break costs totaled $8,527.20 using bulk milk. Carton milk turns out to be less expensive, since there are very limited labor costs compared to bulk milk.

The approximate $5,000 cost for this program will be divided equally between the food service budget and the general fund for the 1998-99 budget year.

Even though the food service budget is expected to run a deficit for 1997-98, the revenues were better and expenses less than planned, according to Howard Caldwell, superintendent. To help ease the deficit for 1998-99, the board voted to increase the price of student's lunches five cents. Elementary student's lunches will cost $1.30, and middle and high school students $1.40. Adult lunches will increase by 25 cents to $2.25. Students and adults will receive one carton of milk included in the meal price. Extra cartons will cost 25 cents.

Proposals from Barb Koehn, food service manager for the district, to cut costs for the current school year included reducing the student labor from ten hours to one; reducing the elementary dishwasher position from six hours per day to five; and reducing the assistant cook at the high school from seven to six hours per day. These savings, when added to the labor savings of carton milk, add up to nearly $15,000.

The reroofing planned at the elementary school is progressing as rapidly as possible, according to Superintendent Caldwell. Because of the previous delays, however, the work will need to be completed after school has started. The impacts of additional noise and odor during this period of construction will attempt to be minimized with construction work being done before and after school, along with keeping windows closed more than usual.

The reroofing at the high school continues to be on hold because of concerns over the structural strength of the roof itself for carrying snow loads. The concern centers around the fact that the high school was constructed in the late 60s, and building codes have been changed in recent years to call for more strength. These new structural strength codes are being enforced more rigorously in light of collapses of flat roofs in recent years due to heavy snow loads in the winter.

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