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Food service, paint job discussed by School Board


Submitted Photo

Wrangell’s 2013 Science Fair winners. From left: Cori Johnson, Katelyn Early, Helen Decker and Ashley Allen.

The Wrangell Public School Board of Education is moving forward on a pair of long-term issues – with one involving Evergreen Elementary and Wrangell High School facility upgrades – and another involving the nutritional needs of the district’s students.

The board voted Monday, May 13 to initiate a request for proposals to paint the elementary school façade and a portion of the front of the high school.

“Painting the elementary school has been on the list of to do items for awhile now and will be nice to be able to mark it off the list,” said Rich Rhodes, superintendent and next year’s principal at Evergreen. “The teachers and advisory members will have a say in the color, although cost of the paint and materials will need to be taken into consideration.”

The district’s food service program was also up for discussion at the meeting.

The district began the program in 2013, which was the first year that they had taken on running the program after contracting out for food service for many years.

According to Rhodes, budgetary issues may hamper the level of service the program provides to the students of the district – and may even see it discontinued if governmental funding is not forthcoming.

“We anticipated an encroachment on the general fund for food service, just not as much as we received.” Rhodes said. “It is going to be difficult to continue to run the food service program without making some costs reductions.”

Approximately $130,000 of the program’s $287,000 cost was allocated from the district during the 2012-13 school year. The additional $157,000 came from state and federal grants.

Dixie Booker, the program manager for Wrangell schools, said she has questions about why the district would consider the nutrition of students over a budgetary matter.

“I am well aware it has been debated whether or not we will be providing this service to the community next year,” Booker said. “I walk through the schools and see signs up that say ‘Is it good for the children?’ Yet, all year long all I have heard about was is it good for the budget. What it really comes down to; are we going to feed the children of Wrangell, Alaska, therefore giving them a better future?”

Booker then added that she thought there has been a lack of planning, communication and support for this program.

Greg Knight

Evergreen Elementary School, along with a portion of Wrangell High School, will get a facelift over the summer with a new coat of paint.

“I need to be more involved with answering your questions and be able to voice more of my concerns with you,” she said. “A lot of times I was unaware of any issues or meetings until the last minute. In order for this program to continue to grow I need to have decisive consistent direction. We provide a service that is a non-profit program to the children of this community. Almost all-new business will not turn a profit in the first year; I do not understand why everyone thought that this one would.”

The board took no action on the issue and tabled it for a review of the budget costs and a possible recommendation from Rhodes during the June board meeting.

The district also announced the winners of the 2013 Science Fair this week, with 1st place going to Helen Decker for her “Fertilizers vs. Growth” entry. Second place went to Cori Johnson, with a solid 3rd place going to the team of Ashley Allen and Katelyn Early.


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