Braham lunch prices see slight increase

By Elizabeth Sias

The price of hot lunches at schools in Braham will see a slight increase in the 2011-12 school year.

The Braham Area School Board passed a recommendation during its board meeting Monday, May 16, by Food Service Director Donna Bryant to increase the price by five cents to $2 for elementary school lunches and $2.15 for high school lunches.

Adult and guest meals will also increase this year, rising from $3.10 to $3.25 per meal.

The price changes are based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s increased guidelines on the minimum prices for paid school lunches.

The price will likely gradually rise over the next several years, Superintendent Greg Winter said, in order to match the price the federal government pays per meal. Rather than increase the price in one year, he said the change will happen incrementally over a period of time.

“You won’t see the big change right away,” Winter said. “It will be a little bit at a time, so you might see this probably for the next three or four years when we’re going to increase prices about a nickel.”

Students receiving free and reduced price lunches will not be affected.


The board also passed a second recommendation from Bryant to purchase new equipment for the Food Service Department in the 2011-12 school year.

The cost of all items totals $55,347, about 38 percent of the department’s current balance.

The purchases include replacing the high school’s countertops and cabinets, which are chipped and rusting.

The elementary school will have new double stacking convection ovens to replace the current ovens, which are inaccurate with cooking temperatures and times. Bryant noted in the report that the new ovens will be more energy efficient.

A double stacking electric steamer will improve quality and cost efficiency by allowing vegetables to be steamed fresh for lunch at a lower cost per serving.

Other items include a hot holding/proofing cabinet used to keep food warm before and during meal times; new shelving for the cooler, freezer and storage, allowing staff to organize and rotate food in the three locations; and a can rack for the storage room.

The high school will also receive a hot holding/proofing cabinet and new shelving for the cooler and storage room, and the school will also have a new mixer as the current one is chipping, and a mechanically cooled salad bar to replace the old one.

Finally, members of the school board awarded a bid for the summer 2011 high school reroofing project.

The bid was awarded to Nieman Roofing for a total construction cost of $187,300, in budget of the originally established construction cost of $184,320.

The project includes several sections of roof including the high roof over the gym and the sections north and east of the gym.

For about an additional 14 percent in total cost, the school will change the 60 millimeter rubber roof to 90 millimeters and purchase a 30 year warranty rather than a 20 year warranty, extending the life of the roof by 50 percent.

The project is expected to be completed this summer.


In other action the board:

• Approved the hiring of Shandell Gutzke, who will become a full-time sixth grade teacher for the 2011-12 school year based on the recommendation of elementary school principal Randy Pauly. The position initially opened with Jim Zak’s leave of absence. Gutzke has been with Braham Area Schools for the last few years as a long-term substitute on several occasions and is currently teaching second grade as a long-term substitute at Cambridge Primary School.