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School board discusses budget

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The regular meeting of the Gettysburg School Board was held Monday, Sept. 10 at the elementary school library. A number of discussion items were reviewed by the board.
Budget
The discussion of the budget was a focus of the meeting, and residents in the Gettysburg School District will not see an increase in taxes this year.
The board voted not to change the mill levies for the 2012-13 school year from the previous year. The opt out request was $150,000, which is half the amount approved.
The board talked about steps being taken throughout the school to cut expenses, even down to buying used textbooks, in order to not increase the burden on taxpayers within the district.
Lunches
The federal guideline changes to the school lunch program were discussed by the board. Although no specific action was taken, there was talk about the meal portions. While all agreed that the healthy food being served was not an issue, there were concerns raised about the portions.
Calories are limited to 850 for teens and 550 for the younger students, and it was agreed that while that may be enough for some, it is not a satisfying amount for all. Many of the students depend on the noon meal as a main source of fuel throughout the day, and parents are hearing complaints from students, many of whom are involved in after-school activities and athletics, that they are “starving” late in the day.
There is a funding formula that is available to the school for following the guidelines of school lunches, which amounts to around $2,000 per year.  The board was also told that students were observed eating more of the healthy food options of fruit and vegetables since they are readily available. No action was taken, and the information was provided as a discussion topic.
Building
Continuing discussion regarding a school building was one of the topics at the meeting. Lots of options are being reviewed and discussed, including overall cost savings through energy efficiency, best way to make the classrooms technology based, and new construction costs compared to improvements made to the existing facility. The board will continue researching and working with the building committee in order to determine recommendations for the community.
Other business included:
• contract approval
• homecoming week review
• grief counseling for staff and students provided by the Compassionate Care Hospice
• football field bleachers
• 1 p.m. dismissal Friday, Sept. 21 for 3 p.m. football game in Herreid
–Molly McRoberts

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