Child Nutrition Director Jon Haynes presented the school board during Monday night’s meeting with set lunch prices for students in the 2018-2019 school year.

“As the result of the discontinuation of CEP last month, it came necessary to establish meal pricing for Pre-K through eight. This year, NC DPI has worked with USDA and provided a waiver for districts who provide a positive fund balance,” said Haynes. “Thankfully we qualify for this waiver.”

Haynes recommended no increase in meal prices for students in ninth through 13th grades. School prices will be $2.35 for students in Pre-K through eight and $2.55 for high schoolers.

Students who qualify for free or reduced meals will have to apply by visiting, or by calling 652-4535. In May, the school board also voted to provide a free breakfast to every student in McDowell County.

In other business:

-In his last appearance as teacher representative on the McDowell County Board of Education, music teacher Benjamin Moore did what he does best—play guitar, sing and make people laugh. He gave a wrap up of his many different topics he presented throughout the year, had some nice things to say about his successor Angela Autrey, and in true Mr. Moore fashion, led the school board, administrators and meeting attendees in a group song of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” by John Denver. To watch the video, visit The McDowell News on Facebook.

- Aaron Slutsky presented the curriculum feature during the school board meeting. He talked on three points: infrastructure and devices; human capital; content instruction and assessment. He said each year the school system gets technology funds for curricular, typically $18 million across the state. In the July 1 budget, the $18 million was removed from the budget, and in another part added back at $44 million. As of right now, Slutsky said they are expecting double the money from the state for at least two years. He highlighted many of the technology aspects already occurring in McDowell County Schools using devices and programs such as Beebots, littleBits, Google Classroom, WeVideo, drones and student-issued Chromebooks. He said the technology department looks to improve by continuing to upgrade the wireless and wireless connection, let students take their devices home, get to 1:1 Chromebooks in the elementary schools at grade third and above, fully equip the elementary classrooms and media centers, continue to train in professional development and teacher led seminars, increase usage of student-content creating applications and increasing teachers data analysis.

-The board voted unanimously to accept the Child Nutrition Procurement Plan and the 2018-2019 School Lunch Prices.

-Superintendent Mark Garrett gave an update on the Old Fort project. He said there were no damage to any of the systems and no water entered the school. Architect Chuck Hamrick said we are on schedule to have his drawings go out to bid on Oct. 1. The finished school floor elevation will be 1,418.2 feet in elevation which is approximately 2 feet higher than the gymnasium floor at the front entrance. The site will be graded so that it will be 2.5 feet above the 100 year flood plain from the surveys. The Building and Grounds Committee of the McDowell County Board of Education will meet on Thursday, June 14 at 12:15 p.m. at the Old Fort Senior Center. The purpose of the meeting will be to review options for the Old Fort Project. The design development drawings will be available on Thursday.

-Head Start Cost of Living Adjustment Supplemental Application and Head Start and Early Head Start Pay Scales was approved unanimously. On March 23, President Donald Trump signed an act that increased Head Start programs to $610 million. That breaks down locally to as a 2.6 percent cost of living increase for every staff member. It must increase every employee and must increase permanent pay scales for future employees. They got a $50,900 increase for the Head Start and Early Head Start programs. They also got $3,000 extra for professional development. They are recurring funds.

-The board voted unanimously to accept the 2018-2019 Capital Needs Budget Request.

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