The Hampton Bays School Board may set a limit on how much students can charge to the school cafeteria after they racked up more than $14,000 in debt last year.
Currently, Hampton Bays students can charge endless lunch and breakfast meals to their accounts, but Business Administrator Larry Luce suggested the board change policy and set a limit at $25 at a meeting Monday evening.
Board trustee Warren Booth said $10 would be a better limit, while Board Vice President Chris Garvey mentioned $15 as a maximum.
A school employee acts as the district's debt collector, and has gotten the outstanding charges down to $4,000, Luce said.
Hampton Bays does have a pre-pay option, however, Luce suspects that when the account funds run out, parents forget to replenish them and in a short time, those charged lunches add up, he said.
Superintendent Lars Clemensen said the board would come to a decision on the charge limit at the next school board meeting, scheduled for September 13.
The board also increased the price of school lunch for high school and middle school students by a quarter, to $2.50. Luce said the figure is in line with federal reimbursement rates for the free lunch program.
New Grading Policy
In another policy change, courses in the Hampton Bays Public Schools will be weighted differently this year.
At the meeting, the board of trustees went over a policy that decreases the grade weighting on honors classes to 1.05 from 1.1. Advanced placement and college level classes stay at 1.1, said Hampton Bays High School Principal Chris Richardt.
Hampton Bays students can take a variety of college classes at Suffolk County Community College for $50 per credit, he said. AP and college-level courses are grouped together in the new weighting system because students who earn over a score of 3 on an AP exam typically receive college credit, he said.
The policy goes into effect for this year’s incoming freshman.
Superintendent Lars Clemensen also welcomed six new full-time teachers to the district.
Four teachers for the elementary school – three general education teachers and one for special education – were appointed. In the middle school, the board appointed a new music teacher charged with revitalizing the program.
The board also appointed a new Spanish teacher to the high school.
New Election System
In other news, the board is considering replacing its old-fashioned pen-and-paper voting system with a fully computerized one offered by Bellport-based Bold Systems.
In a short presentation, Diane Cummings of Bold Systems said the computer program cuts in half the number of staff needed at elections and also helps the district develop statistics related to voter turnout. The system also cuts down on waiting time at school board and budget votes, Cummings said.
The cost of the system varies by district and Luce did not yet have an accurate estimate for what Hampton Bays would pay.
There are already 107 districts in the New York metropolitan area – 35 of which are in Suffolk – that use the system, according to a slide in the presentation. Cummings said many of the company’s new clients come from referrals.