GREEN RIVER — The question of whether to implement a reduced-cost school lunch program at Washington Elementary in Green River drew some debated at the school board meeting this week.
Principal Anne Marie Covey explained that as of Oct. 2, 38% of the students at Washington Elementary qualified for free or reduced cost lunches under the Title 1 Schoolwide Application.
The application requires 40% of the students at the school to qualify for the program in order for implementation.
“We need to educate and advertise, so that we get every (Washington Elementary) family” that could potentially qualify for the free or reduced price lunches, Covey told the board.
She said that about four more qualifying students would raise the figure to 40% at Washington Elementary.
Board vice chairman Steve Core expressed concern that Title 1 funding could be taken away from Truman Elementary in order to fund the program at Washington Elementary.
Superintendent Donna Little-Kaumo disagreed and explained how the funding mechanism would work.
However, Core was not convinced, and the board voted to approve the permission to apply for Washington Elementary Title 1 status over Core’s objection.
Board chairman Brenda Roosa and trustees Robin Steiss, Ann Rudoff, Mark Sanders, John Malone and Corina Tynsky voted to approve the measure.
A prospective memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the school district and the Child Development Center drew enough concern to warrant tabling for the time being.
The MOU pertained to the district’s providing mechanical services and supplies to buses owned by the CDC.
In addition to concerns about the potential cost and business impact of implementing the MOU, Sanders questioned CDC Executive Director Dr. Christy Pelham regarding what the priority designation would be for repairs.
“We know that your buses would take priority over ours,” Pelham responded.
The actual cost to repair a bus for different circumstances had not yet been broken out of the CDC maintenance figures, Pelham said.
Given that these items were at present part of the larger CDC maintenance budget, Pelham said she would provide the board with more precise cost estimates for CDC bus repairs.
The board voted to table consideration of the MOU given the uncertainty hanging over cost and the impact upon local businesses of the prospective MOU
Rudoff opposed tabling the MOU request out of concern for the impact on CDC students. She suggested that $2,000-$5,000 for bus repairs was not excessive, if it assisted the CDC in its mission.
Core expressed support for the Child Development Center, but explained that there were questions that needed answering before he could reconsider his opposition to the proposed MOU.
The Wyoming Legisltature’s Joint Education Committee recently approved $26.6 million as an External Cost Adjustment, Little-Kaumo told the board. The ECA request now heads to the Joint Appropriations Committee, which will meet on Oct. 24-25.
The JEC meets again Nov. 27-28, with a two-hour block set aside to allow special education professionals to discuss the complexities involved in special education in Wyoming.
Little-Kaumo encouraged parents and others to keep contacting state legislators to fund education properly within Wyoming, and that such contacts are having an impact.