School system OKs capital-outlay budget

Published 8:17 pm Wednesday, April 30, 2008

By Staff
Board increases prices for meals served at schools
Senior Reporter
The 2008-2009 capital-outlay budget for Beaufort County Schools was unanimously approved Monday night.
The capital-outlay budget addresses the building, grounds and other physical needs of the schools. The spending plan’s approval came during the Beaufort County Board of Education’s meeting.
The overall capital-outlay budget is $5,864,321. The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners allotted $1,503,066 from county funds for the school system’s capital needs.
One major project is a $495,000 replacement of the hot-water loop of Washington High Schools’ heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. The board’s decision hinged on a N.C. Department of Public Instruction engineer’s report that predicts the failure of the system at any time during the next five years. The report said such a failure would shut down the school up to four weeks if it happened during the cold months of a school year.
Classroom additions are part of the capital-outlay budget. It includes a $250,540 four-classroom addition at John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School in Washington and a $196,560 four-classroom addition at Eastern Elementary School in Washington. A single, large bathroom will be built at John Cotten Tayloe Elementary School to serve the new addition. Each of the new classrooms at Eastern Elementary School will have a bathroom.
During the meeting, a motion to adopt a resolution asking the General Assembly to give local school boards taxing authority died for lack of a second.
In another matter, the board voted 6-3 to implement a 100-percent, tobacco-free-schools policy for the school system. Voting for the motion were Belcher, Teressa Banks, Eltha Booth, E.C. Peed, John White and Cindy Winstead. Voting against it were H.E. Boyd, F. Mac Hodges and William Warren.
The policy reads that as of Aug. 1, no student, staff member or school visitor will be permitted to use any tobacco product on any school grounds and school properties such as athletic fields, parking lots and buildings. Vehicles maintained by the schools are also covered by the policy. The school system will offer staff members who use tobacco products help with stopping their use of such products.
Also at the meeting, the board voted 6-3 to increase prices of school meals by 25 cents. For grades nine through 12, the price of a lunch will increase from $1.75 to $2. For kindergarten through the eighth grade, the price will increase from $1.50 to $1.75. Breakfast prices will increase from $1 to $1.25. Voting for the increase were Belcher, Boyd, Hodges, Peed, Warren and White. Voting against it were Banks, Booth and Winstead.
John Hastings, the system’s child-nutrition program director, told the board that food prices have risen greatly since the last price increase, which was eight years ago.
On another nutrition issue, the board voted 5-4 to discontinue the school system’s summer feeding program. Voting to stop the program were Belcher, Boyd, Hodges, Warren and Winstead. Voting to continue the program were Banks, Booth, Peed and White. In this program, the schools offer a free meal to any child during the summer months when school is not in session.
White said he is concerned that ending the program would be detrimental to some children who aren’t fed properly at home.
In another matter, the board unanimously approved the Pathways Program. This program is funded with an initial grant of $150,000 from the state.
The Pathways Program was created as a proactive alternative for struggling students at an elevated risk of dropping out of school because of credit deficiencies and a reentry program for high-school dropouts.