A free breakfast will be available to all students at least until Christmas break and Bright Local Superintendent Ted Downing said there are other changes district residents should be aware of as the 2017-18 school year draws near.
Entering his third year at the helm of the district, Downing said that due to reimbursement the school receives from the state for each breakfast served, the free breakfast for all students could continue if most students take advantage of the program. But he said the free breakfast will be re-evaluated during Christmas break to see how many students are eating breakfast.
Students will have their choice of a hot or cold breakfast that will be served from 7 to 7:30 a.m. at the high school and from 8:30 to 9 a.m. at the elementary school.
In grades 7-12, Downing said students will also have the option of a “grab and go” lunch that they can take to their classrooms.
Because Bright Local’s lunch prices are under the state minimum, the school district is required to increase the price by 10 cents per lunch this year. That means lunch prices for high school students will be $2.45 and for elementary students they will be $2.20.
Bright Local students are issued a number that’s used for the cafeteria lunch system. Families can pay on accounts for their students’ meals in the office or sent money with the student. There is also the option of paying by visiting www.payforit.net. Any amount of money can be sent to be the placed on a student’s account. Students may charge up to $10 on their lunch account. Parents will be notified when their child reaches the $10 limit. If the school cannot reach the parents by phone, a letter will be sent.
School for Bright Local students starts on Wednesday, Aug. 16. Downing said elementary students need to be at school by 8:45 a.m. to keep from being considered tardy and high school students need to be there by 7:19 a.m. Elementary students will be dismissed at 3:15 p.m. and high school students at 2 p.m.
The high school gym floor has been replaced and a new roof has been placed over the 1987 addition to the school. Along with new bleachers and lighting installed in the gym last year, the superintendent said renovation of the gym is now complete.
The administrative staff remains intact, but Downing said new teachers this year include Ashton Suttle, who will teach Spanish and be the varsity cheerleading adviser; April Flowers, who will teach English and be the drama and yearbook adviser; Brianne Lee, who will teach English and be the academic team and junior high cheerleading adviser; Ryan Barnett, who will teach high school and middle school physical education and health; and Melissa Parker at the high school and Blake Kibler at the elementary, who will oversee programs offered through the Educational Service Center.
Downing said 10 staff members who have gone through rigorous training will be armed this year as opposed to five when staff members were armed for the first time a year ago.
“There are no problems. This is just being proactive rather than reactive,” Downing said. “We are so far from any law enforcement and we just want our students to feel safe while we try to teach them.”
There are also several new coaches in the district, according to Downing.
Open houses will be held from 5-7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15 at the junior/senior high school and from 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 15 at the elementary school. The following staff members will be on hand to answer questions and accept payments for lunch accounts and iPad fees: bus drivers; Debbie Robertson, cafeteria supervisor; Michelle Ryan, school nurse; Luke Stevenson, technology specialist; Travis Bogart, technology coordinator; Cathy Forsythe, EMIS coordinator; and Deanna Risner, administrative assistant.
Downing said the cost of iPads with a case has decreased from around $500 a year ago to a little over $300 this year. He said payments can be made in five installments.
The superintendent said said drama and speech classes have been added for high school students and a technology class has been added for freshmen.
“Our test scores are not what we want them to be, but we did improve from the year before, so we are making positive progress,” Downing said. “By no means are we where we want to be, but I feel good with the direction we’re going, and with the continued support of the board, staff and community, we can continue to make progress for years to come.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected]