The Houston School District will work toward feeding more students to improve classroom performance and nutrition.

In an effort to feed more students and increase learning, the Houston School District will not charge for reduced breakfasts and lunches the remainder of the school year.

The school board accepted a proposal to test the model from Superintendent Scott Dill. The belief, Dill said in his presentation to the school board last week, is that hungry children are poorer students.

“If a student is not safe, well fed and warm, they don’t learn well,” Dill said. “We can eliminate something from that equation. I think it’s a great service for our community.”

Dill told the board 656 children – making up 64.35 percent of the students in the district – fall in the free or reduced meals category. Many of the 138 students in the reduced category are not eating lunches, Dill said, because of negative balances in their accounts.

The district is reimbursed by the government for both free and reduced lunches. A reduced lunch costs 40 cents compared to the full price of $1.65. The district receives $2.61 per plate for a free meal or $2.21 for reduced.

“If we can increase usage and the reimbursement that we get from the USDA, we could potentially offset any losses to the district,” Dill said. “But this is not a money-making move. This is about feeding more kids.”

Many districts around the state have tested similar models with breakfasts. Houston will be one of the first schools to implement the strategy with lunches.

The board unanimously approved the proposal.

“The goal is to get more meals in more students,” Dill said. “Students who are well fed are better learners. It’s as simple as that. These students can take advantage of this to the betterment of our student body.

“This is important for our school district and a tremendous step forward.”

Also at the meeting, which was held in the superintendent’s office as cleanup from a broken water pipe continues at the Exceptional Child Cooperative, board members:

––Extended the contracts of Charlie Malam (high school principal), Jeremie Akins (middle school principal), Amy Dill (elementary principal), Amber Stephens (high school assistant principal), Roger Brallier (elementary assistant principal) and Lillian Collins (exceptional cooperative director).

Akins and Brallier were approved with 4-1 votes. The others were unanimous.

–Accepted the resignation of George Snelling Jr., an elementary custodian, effective March 31.

–Employed Brittany Roberts as speech language pathologist assistant for the remainder of the school year.

–Accepted a bid of $20,100 from Jared Smith Hauling and Excavation of Solo for demolition and disposal of the existing middle and high school library, custodial building and residence at 709 Mill St.. The bid was the lowest of five submitted.

Dill said demolitions would begin in early March.

–Discussed moving the high school softball season to the spring. No action was taken. The subject will be revisited in the fall.

–Heard Dill plans to create a ‘snow routes only’ plan before the next school year for inclement weather. He said it will likely be similar to one used for summer school that features collection points on blacktops only.

–Were updated on communication from legal counsel related to a letter of intent with Missouri Sun Solar.

–Set a special meeting for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Exceptional Child Cooperative to accept bids for a general contractor related to construction work on the campus. Bids will be opened Feb. 20 in the superintendent’s office.

The next regular board meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, at the cooperative. 

The goal is to get more meals in more students. Students who are well fed are better learners. It’s as simple as that. These students can take advantage of this to the betterment of our student body.”

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply