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School Board honors schools, employees

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By The Staff

By JUDY UNDERWOOD

Morgan County News Editor

Most of Monday night’s school board meeting was devoted to honoring schools and employees for their hard work and achievements this school year.

The school board members hosted an appreciation dinner for Sunbright and Oakdale schools as well as cafeteria workers prior to their meeting at the Central Office.

Sunbright and Oakdale made the U.S. News and World Report’s “top schools” list in the nation late last year.

More than 18,000 schools in 40 states were assessed by the publication and School Evaluation Services, a K-12 education data research firm. In East Tennessee nine schools received the bronze award. In Tennessee only one school achieved a gold award status.

Oakdale shows a disadvantaged student enrollment of 57.8 percent while that data is 72.2 percent at Sunbright. That criteria helped rank the two schools.

Rankings were based on how students perform on state tests, how well disadvantaged students did on tests and how well the schools provide college-level course work.

In addition Supervisor of Food Services Peggy Hamby recognized the majority of the women who work in the school cafeterias. She applauded their efforts to take the courses and do the work to attain the first level professional certification program. Hamby said 24 have completed the requirements and others are continuing to work.

“They’re the best restaurant in town,” she said of the school cafeterias.

Hamby addressed the Board later during its meeting on a not so pleasant topic.

As with most everything else, the rising cost of fuel is going to find its way into what parents pay for their kids to eat meals at school next year.

Hamby said it is projected that the cost of food will increase by 40 percent for the coming school year. She said the federal food service program has yet to tell the school systems what it will pay for students on free and reduced lunch. She said that when she has those figures later in the summer she will develop a proposal for the Board.

Hamby said it isn’t a question of whether or not the price of school meals will be increased but how much.

Director of School Mike Davis said he plans to work with Hamby to better promote free and reduced meals. He pointed out that it doesn’t just provide meals for students. The county also receives state funds based on the number of students participating in the free and reduced lunch program.

“We are losing state funding because parents who qualify don’t file the paperwork. If you think you qualify, then please use it,” Davis said.

Hamby said that in some cases Morgan County is also having problems getting vendors to bid on certain food items, like bread. She said they don’t want to drive to places like Sunbright because there isn’t a grocery store there that makes the trip worth it for them.