USD 408 Board of Education agreed Monday to allow the Marion High School sophomore class to have open lunch three days a week, subject to conditions.
Class officers Jacob Baldwin, Braden Fahey, Samantha Davies, and Julia Hall presented their proposal, which began as a project in English class. They proposed having open lunch for sophomores Tuesdays through Thursdays.
To be eligible for open lunch, a student would have to be passing all classes with a grade of 72 percent or better. Eligibility would also require no unexcused absences, tardies, or citizenship or discipline referrals.
Sophomores will also be prohibited from driving on open lunch. They may ride along with a student with a valid driver’s license, as long as they have a waiver signed by a parent. Alternatively, parents may opt to allow their student to go on open lunch, but only walking.
Baldwin said that if parents have concerns about who their child rides to lunch with, that would need to be addressed between the parent and child, because the school can’t effectively police that.
The sophomores proposed that any sophomore eligible for open lunch found violating the no-driving provision would lose open lunch privileges for the rest of the year, while the entire class would lose open lunch for a month.
Board of Education President Chris Sprowls said he thought the class was being tougher on themselves than the board would have been.
MHS Principal Tod Gordon said that before the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, juniors and seniors only needed to be passing all of their classes to qualify for open lunch. When the threshold was increased to 70 percent in all classes, many students made quick work of getting their grades up.
Board member Lyle Leppke said he thought the biggest problem with allowing sophomores to have open lunch would be for lunch planning. On the other hand, Sprowls said it could reduce lunchroom congestion, giving students more time to eat.
Superintendent Lee Leiker said extending open lunch to sophomores would have a financial effect, because the district receives reimbursement for free and reduced-price lunches, but he didn’t think it would be enough effect to be the overriding criteria to decide whether to allow open lunch.
The board approved the sophomores’ proposal unanimously and commended the officers on preparing the proposal.
In other business:
- MHS wrestling coach Chad Adkins showed new wrestling uniforms that were paid for with a donation from recent graduate Tylor Neil. All of the printing is in the fabric, so they shouldn’t wear out as quickly. Adkins also told the board that former MHS wrestler Zach Ewert has been hired as an assistant wrestling coach at Chase County.
- The board approved a request from John Swarm to use the activity bus to take people on a Christmas tour to Atchison and Kansas City. Swarm will pay all costs for fuel and a driver for the tour.
- The board approved declaring old unused computer and technology equipment as surplus, allowing it to be sold to a company that wishes to purchase some of it.
- The board met in closed session with Leiker for 50 minutes to discuss personnel matters. On return to open session, the board voted to terminate Gail Fallon’s contract as a custodian at Marion Elementary School, to hire Laura Hasenbank as a custodian at MES for $9.50 an hour, and to authorize Leiker to advertise for an accountant and business manager.
- Leiker briefly discussed state tax revenue projections. Compared to a projection in April, the latest projections are down $5.2 million for fiscal year 2013, and the projection for fiscal year 2014 is down nearly $1 billion compared to 2012.
The next board meeting will be at 7 a.m. Dec. 10, and the board will tour the schools.