Board to consider free meals for all

May. 10, 2014 @ 05:05 PM

Free school meals could be coming for every student that wants them in Vance County.

Among agenda items at Monday’s meeting, the Vance County Board of Education will review the Community Eligibility Provision, a four-year reimbursement program allowing the district to provide lunches to all students at no charge — and without the need for free lunch forms.

At a committee meeting last month, Phillis Newcomb, director of Vance County Schools’ child nutrition program, presented the provision.

She said Vance County qualified at 65 percent — the minimum requirement is 40 percent — and said the district could get about $40,000 more in lunch reimbursements if it is adopted.

“It makes financial sense for us to provide everyone breakfast and lunch if they choose to participate,” district spokeswoman Terri Hedrick said. “We have very few students who still pay for our meals now. Our free and reduced rate is like 90 percent of our student population.”

The program was created under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and the National School Lunch Act in 2010 and has already been successful in seven pilot states.

If approved at the meeting, it would take effect for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Also at the meeting, the board will take up a social media policy for employees.

The policy committee drafted the document to address teacher and student communication through social media, specifically Facebook.

“So many people do communicate through Facebook,” Hedrick said. “You can be friends with people from any and everywhere. Quite often teachers and students can be friends. I do believe that the board thinks that it’s not appropriate. We just want to establish they [teachers] are the professionals, and they are not friends with students even through social media.”

The policy draft outlines regulations for technology communications from students, stating teachers and students should maintain professional relationships and refrain from communicating through any media form not regulated by the schools.

The policy draft also outlines rules and consequences for facility and teacher use of their personal social media.

This month, students from E.O. Young and Zeb Vance elementary schools were selected to give school presentations at the start of the meeting.

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