At the May 21 meeting of the Salem School Board, breakfast and lunch prices were set for the next school year.
The decision was the same as last year -- a five cent increase in price for both meals.
"A five cent increase will make breakfast 90-cents and lunch a dollar thirty-five," Superintendent Ken Rich said. "That is still a very reasonable meal price for those who pay for their meals."
Such a small increase is likely to make parents happy, but the federal government may not be too pleased.
According to Rich, the federal government wants meal costs to be around $1.76 for breakfast and $2.74 for lunch. Those amounts are the reimbursement rates the federal government pays for each meal served.
School systems are required to move toward the federal reimbursement rate, and Salem schools are moving -- but slowly. A nickel a year shows cooperation but the school board supports keeping meal costs as low as possible.
Another economic issue during the meeting was the awarding of a bid to reseal the elementary school asphalt over the summer.
"We did the high school parking lot last year, and this year we'll start right behind the high school and go up the two roads leading to the elementary school and do the whole elementary parking lot area," Rich explained. "This will be to fill the cracks, apply the seal coat and restripe the parking lot."
The four bids proposed a surprising range of prices for the job.
Redstone Construction of Little Rock bid $22,900.
Cox Paving of Bald Knob bid $16,295.
Ted York Truck of Salem bid $12,445.
Asphalt Maintenance Company of West Plains turned in the low bid of $7,976.
Rich pointed out Asphalt Maintenance was awarded the sealing bid last year, and said they did "an adequate job."
The superintendent proposed giving the company the bid again this year -- with a caveat. The bid specifications require the winner to agree to follow a formula as to how the asphalt sealer is mixed.
The board vote was to award the contract to Asphalt Maintenance, with the understanding it follows the sealer specifications listed in the contract.
Rich later said the sealer recipe was provided to him by a sealant company, to insure that a high quality sealer is applied to school parking lots, with no shortcuts.
Rich said he is still in the process of getting prices on some other school grounds improvements that may be done over the summer. One job -- waxing the floors of every classroom -- has already begun.
The school board looked over documents showing that Salem schools have been fully accredited, and received good marks on its District Report Card.
The yearly report card is required under Arkansas' school reform law to give parents an idea of how the schools their children attend are doing as they work to meet standards.
The report card shows data on how each class has scored on state testing. It presents information on attendance, graduation and dropout rates, and economic indicators which reflect the makeup of the school population.
The report card, which does not give actual letter grades, is hard to figure out. But Rich said Salem schools continue to do well in state testing.
"It's pretty much across the board all excelling, said Rich, with more than 80% of students passing state exams.
"Science testing remains our lowest category," said Rich. "Our average last year was in the 80s (the percent of students who passed state performance exams)."
The board went into executive session to discuss personnel matters, but took no action.
At an April 30 special meeting, the board hired Joshua Watson, who taught this year at Paragould, to be a science teacher, and serve as an assistant football and assistant baseball coach.
The board also voted at the special meeting to make track coach Tim Eckman the new golf coach, and moved Cody Curtis from assistant baseball coach to track coach.
High School Principal Wayne Guiltner congratulated the Greyhound baseball and softball teams for successful seasons. He announced that the Junior High and Senior High Shooting Sports Teams placed high enough in their regional meets to move on to the state tournament in Lone Oak -- June 1 for the Junior Team and June 2 for the Senior Team.
The next regular meeting of the Salem School Board is scheduled for June 18 at 7 p.m. at the superintendent's office. The public is invited to attend.