Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

July 11, 2012

Free, reduced-price meal recipients up 3 percent

TAHLEQUAH — Tahlequah Public Schools saw a 3 percent increase in the number of students taking advantage of free and reduced-price meals during the last school year.

Across the district, 73.2 percent of students qualified for those meals. Cherokee Elementary was the only site to see its percentage of qualified students decrease over the previous year – a drop of about 1 percent, according to Child Nutrition Program Director Rhonnie Kerns.

Kerns provided school board members this week with a a year-end report from 2011-’12.

Cherokee Elementary had the highest number of students qualify for free or reduced meals, 85.9 percent. More than 78 percent of Sequoyah’s students qualified; 73.5 percent at Tahlequah Middle School; 71.7 percent at Greenwood; and 66.5 percent at Tahlequah High School.

Kerns said the percentages play a major role in certain funds the Child Nutrition Program receives, including grant money and federal reimbursements.

Last year, 91.3 percent of the meals served at TPS were free or reduced-price meals, based on the total number of student lunches and breakfasts.

“Districtwide, we served breakfast to 36 percent of our students last year, and averaged 81 percent for lunch participation,” said Kerns. “Averages are higher at the elementary level than they are at the secondary level, which is common. Realistically, those are very high numbers and we’re very pleased with that, and we’re looking forward to reaching more students.”

Sequoyah Elementary had the highest daily average of student participation for both breakfast and lunch last year, with 48 percent of students eating breakfast every day, and 91 percent eating lunch.

“Districtwide, we ended the year with a plate cost of $2.31,” said Kerns.

The average plate cost across the district’s elementary sites was $2.49, while middle-school and high-school average plate costs were $2.13.

Kerns said the state-determined average plate cost – the minimum a district is allowed to charge for adult meals – has yet to be announced. For 2010-’11, the average was $2.89, and Kerns said she expects a “significant increase” next year because of changes to the Child Nutrition Program.

During the past school year, the TPS Child Nutrition Program saw profits of more than 11,700 from a la carte purchases: $4,714.22 from vending machines at the middle school and high school; $6,895.59 from Blue Bell ice cream sales; and $161.71 from extra milk and juice purchases.

“We don’t participate in much ala carte, so that’s not a significant number when you look at the total budget, but when you look at the fact that one oven costs $11,500, that buys us an oven, so we’re glad to have it,” said Kerns.

The Child Nutrition Program receives 79.8 percent of its income from federal reimbursements – “what we get from the free and reduced meals,” Kerns said – while 15.9 percent comes from full-pay meals.

“So it’s clear, free and reduced is extremely important to this community,” said Kerns.

A breakdown of commodities received shows that the district took in 436 fewer cases than in 2010-’11, at a “significantly higher allocation cost.” Kerns said revenue continues to climb each year, but expenditures are also climbing. The program collected more than $1.7 million last year, and spent more than $1.6 million, for a net profit of $58,596.82.

“I went back 15 years. The lowest we’ve been in the last 15 years was $9,000 for profit,” said Kerns. “The highest we were was about $116,000 and change, so we’re about in the middle. We’ve been averaging be-tween $50,000 and $70,000 for the past several years.”

 Kerns said statistics are important for the district to track, but she said the staff is what keeps the program operating successfully.

“It takes an entire team to run a district. The child nutrition team does a phenomenal job,” said Kerns. “They not only feed our kids great food, but they remember our kids need smiles and kind words, and a pleasant atmosphere in the cafeteria.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • jn cvbc fire.jpg Church catches fire after burglaries

    Authorities are looking for the person accused of breaking into the Crescent Valley Baptist Church two times this week and likely causing a fire that damaged the youth building early Wednesday morning.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • svw Humane photo.tif More volunteers needed to house strays, help with spay-and-neuter

    Furry friends may seem like the perfect addition to round out a family.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marijuana, seeds lead to four arrests

    Four people were arrested on marijuana related charges early Wednesday morning after a traffic stop on South Muskogee Avenue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Sex offender found living in tent at river

    Cherokee County sheriff’s investigators arrested a convicted sex offender this week when they discovered he has been living in a tent along the river.

    July 24, 2014

  • ts-NSU-MAIN.jpg Fledgling RiverHawks arrive

    Over 200 incoming freshmen took part in orientation class at Northeastern State University

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • svw-TCP-jump.jpg Tahlequah Community Playhouse revving up for new season

    Tahlequah Community Playhouse is kicking of its 41st season with a nod to friendship and aging.
    TCP finished auditions for its first play of the season, “The Dixie Swim Club,” on Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Infant mortality dropping in county

    When a mom-to-be is expecting a healthy, happy baby, every week of pregnancy is crucial.
    Short gestation, or premature births, is a leading cause of infant mortality. Any child born before reaching 37 weeks of gestation is considered premature.

    July 23, 2014

  • Board considers combining tourism, chamber positions

    Members of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the local Tourism Council are discussing the possibility of combining two jobs into one.
    Chamber President Steve Turner encouraged board members Tuesday morning to be prepared next month to decide how it will begin a search for a new executive director.

    July 23, 2014

  • New chamber board members nominated

    Three new board members will likely be installed during the regular August meeting of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce.

    July 23, 2014

  • ts-camp-cherokee-main.jpg Camp Cherokee

    About 500 area youth attending popular camp for tribal citizens.

    In reality, two camps are taking place at the Camp Heart ‘o the Hills: a day camp for children in first through sixth grades, and a residential camp for those in middle and high school.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires
Stocks