June 12, 2009

School board looks at lunchroom options, test scores

School board looks at lunchroom options, test scores

By JILL DENNING GACKLE
School may be out for summer but the meeting schedule at the Parshall school is the heaviest it’s been.
The district had a meeting Tuesday evening and will meet again June 23 at 8 p.m. Board members and teachers are sandwiching negotiations on salaries and had another meeting Thursday to try to get closer to a salary figure.
The elementary gym/lunchroom and how meet the federal testing standards topped Tuesday’s meeting, according to Steve Cascaden, superintendent.
Although board members decided at a June 1 meeting to rent a portable kitchen and lunchroom to serve elementary students, they quickly changed their minds, Cascaden said. The board took another look at the full cost of the rental and learned it would be $150,000 - $200,000 for up to a year and a half of use. Initial cost of renting the unit would have been $37,000 but each month would cost the district another $5,000 plus the cost to install electricity, water and a breezeway to the unit.
Instead the board decided to outfit an existing vehicle with racks and warmers and to transport lunch from the high school cafeteria instead of students. Cascaden said the board reasoned that it would be a lot more efficient to move two to three employees instead of 160 students.
He said the district hopes to have portions of the foundation in the current kitchen, lunchroom and gym removed and replaced by the time school starts. The district discovered that long-time seepage under the elementary school has caused foundation damage that needs to be repaired.
Cascaden said the board also liked the idea that “the kids will still get hot meals and they’ll still get their lunch recess.” He said the board was concerned about the challenge of transporting students to the high school in the winter.
The superintendent said the board is still interested of doing some additional remodeling during the elementary school improvements. He said the idea of a community library will be discussed with city officials who are considering remodeling the city hall and library. The board plans to have community meetings later this summer to inform the public about the planned improvements, which would need to be funded, in part, by additional taxpayer dollars.


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