School lunch prices will stay the same this fall, the school
system's director of operations told school board members at yesterday's meeting.
Robert Lazarewicz, the director, said elementary school lunches will cost $1, and middle and high school lunches will cost $1.35. Super lunches and coach's corner lunches will cost $2 and adult TTC lunches $1.80, he said, and the price of a half-pint of milk will remain at 25 cents.
By comparison, elementary school lunches cost $1.10 in Anne Arundel County, $1.50 in Baltimore County and $1.30 in Harford County, Mr. Lazarewicz said.
In other business, the board:
* Heard a report on proposed changes that would strengthen the elementary school gifted and talented program next school year. Most notably, students would no longer have to go through an in-depth identification process. They would be recommended for the program by parents, teachers and administrators.
The move would save time for teachers, who say they spend as much as 30 percent of their day assessing students' abilities.
Students would also get more specialized instructional time based on their area of interest or individual abilities.
Robert Glascock, the Office of Gifted and Talented's curriculum coordinator, said a major problem with the current program has been the attitude among classroom teachers that the needs of gifted students were adequately met by resource teachers in the current gifted and talented program.
Many parents complained that their children were not being challenged enough outside of their gifted and talented class, he said.
The new gifted and talented program would emphasize collaboration with classroom teachers to tie in gifted and talented curriculum with regular lessons, he said.
But school board member Susan Cook and teachers union president James Swab worried that regular classroom teachers would be overloaded with the additional responsibility of incorporating gifted and talented curriculum into their lessons.
"It's a major concern for me," Ms. Cook said. "I hope you will be flexible to what they have to say."
* Approved an expanded family life and human sexuality curriculum for high-schoolers this school year. Additional topics that will be covered include abstinence, decision-making and their consequences, healthy relationships, dating and overview of human sexuality. Students will also learn about gender roles and tips on how to manage peer pressure.
* Tabled discussion about giving 14 percent wage increases to employees of Columbia-based Energy Applications, Inc., which has been providing engineering services to the school system since 1992. The firm is seeking the increase to remain competitive, it said.
Under the company's request, a clerk typist working for the company would make $17.54 an hour, while a designer would get $33.81 an hour. A project engineer would make $57.96 an hour, and the person in overall charge of the project would earn $82.11 an hour.
Skeptical board members said they wanted more justification for granting the increase.
"We're concerned about the 14 percent increase in an economy that's flat," said board chairman Dana Hanna.