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Fewer than 50% of JS students qualify for free/reduced lunch

JERSEY SHORE — Although school lunches for the last two years have been offered at no cost to students in the Jersey Shore Area School District, the figures this year point to less than half of the students qualifying for the lower costs, according to Dr. Brian Ulmer, district superintendent.

“We’re at about 43 percent free and reduced lunch,” Ulmer told the school board at their meeting this week. He added that he had gone over the figures with the nutrition department again to see what they were.

“So if we would try to qualify through community eligibility, the district would pick up the tab for the other 56-57 percent of kids who don’t qualify automatically,” he said.

The question that they have gotten, Ulmer said, is how can other districts qualify and Jersey Shore doesn’t.

“It’s because of their initial percentage of kids that qualify. You could qualify above the 40 percent, but I think those districts around us have a much higher number and can significantly reduce the cost of what it would cost the rest of the students,” Ulmer said.

“The problem has happened the last two years because of COVID, the federal program had everyone free and reduced and so it was like a non-issue. But this year it is an issue,” said Mary Thomas, board president.

Thomas noted that information will be going out to every student and it is hoped that parents will fill out the forms and return them.

In other business, under personnel, the board approved the following 2022-2023 Safe 2 Say Something Contact Team members: Jon Jean, Justin Armbruster, Elizabeth Segrave, Kyle Fera and Laura Osenbach. A contact team is required for this program which involves safe schools reporting.

Other appointments and rates of pay approved were: Florence Weaver part-time food service worker, $12.25 per hour; Ashleigh Schreiber, full-time special education paraprofessional at the Middle School, $19,200 annually; Holly Shobert, lunch monitor at Jersey Shore Elementary; and Amber Miller as a bus driver with Susquehanna Transit Company.

They also approved the 2022-23 21st Century After School Program staff and stipends and the 2022-23 contracted stipends.

Letters of resignation from Bambi Barto, part-time food service employee, Carole Christine Smith, elementary music teacher and William Zeruth, Middle School English language arts teacher were accepted by the board.

Finance items approved were:

— Purchase of District Violent Incident insurance for July 1, 2022 through June 30, 2023 from PSBA via the R.R. Motter Agency at a cost of $6,947.

— Renewal of IXL Learning site license for all schools at a cost of $39,657.

— Renewal of Integra One-Cisco SMARTnet phone system license at a cost of $21,560.

— An agreement between Lycoming and Clinton County Children and Youth and the district for the purchase of meals as needed from July 1 this year through June 30, 2023.

— The board also approved raising adult lunch prices by $.05 to $3.15.

The next meeting of the board will be at 7 p.m, Aug. 22, at the District Administration Building, 175 A&P Drive.

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