There may be a dime's worth of difference in the price South-Western students pay for their lunches next school year.
Food Services Supervisor Beth Glitt is recommending the district increase its cost of school lunches by 10 cents in 2014-15, and by another 10 cents the following school year.
Glitt gave an update on food service operations at the South-Western Board of Education meeting Monday, Feb. 24.
The district's price for elementary school lunches has not increased since 2006 and the cost at other schools last rose in 2007, Glitt said.
South-Western's current lunch prices of $2.25 at elementary schools; $2.50 at intermediate and middle schools and $2.75 at high schools compares favorably to those in 11 other central Ohio districts, she said.
Only Columbus has as low of a price as South-Western at the elementary, intermediate and middle school levels. High schools in five other districts charge $2.75 and the other districts charge more.
Even with the increases over the next two years, "We will stay competitive," Glitt said, and that's not counting the possibility other districts may also increase their lunch prices.
South-Western's food service operations are self-supporting and receive no general fund money, board member Cathy Johnson said.
"We appreciate that," Johnson said. "It frees that money for educational purposes."
Through the month of January, about 71 percent of South-Western students are buying school lunches, including those who buy them a la carte, Glitt said.
That figure is just above her goal of 70 percent, she said.
Changes were made to the menu, taking in account results of a survey of students about the foods they like and dislike while also providing healthier food choices, Glitt said.
Food service employees have been taking in-service seminars on customer service, she said.
The idea is that friendlier service may make more students more willing to buy school lunches, Glitt said.
"If you don't like children, you probably shouldn't be working in this business," she said.
Lunch time is one time during the day when students "don't have to be quiet," Glitt said. "They can have some fun and get fueled up for the rest of the day."
The board will be presented with a resolution to approve the lunch price increases at a future meeting, Superintendent Bill Wise said.
In other business Feb. 24, the board approved plans for the district's 2014 summer school program.
High school summer school will run from June 9 through July 2. The dates allow for two make-up days.
Ohio Graduation Test intervention will be held June 2 through June 13. Participating students will be able to retake the test June 16-23.
The summer graduation ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 14 at Westland High School.
Summer school fees for high school students will remain $175 per four-hour course for district residents and $350 for non-residents. One OGT intervention course will cost $175 and two courses will cost $225. There will be no cost for OGT intervention for graduation seniors who have met all other requirements.
Middle school summer school will run from 9 a.m. to noon Aug. 11-22.
The fee and location for the middle school sessions are still to be determined.