SCSD9 passes policy to forgive student lunch debt

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BIG PINEY – Generous donations from the towns of Marbleton, Big Piney and LaBarge will allow the Sublette County School District No. 9 (SCSD9) to forgive student lunch debt for balances over $10.

The SCSD9 Board of Trustees passed a unanimous motion at its Feb. 21 meeting to amend food service charging procedures in the Student Handbook to use the funds raised by the towns of LaBarge, Big Piney and Marbleton to eliminate student lunch debt.

The district’s goal is to “erase” all student lunch debt for amounts over $10, allowing families that may be struggling financially to hit the “reset” button and ensure that all students in the district receive a healthy meal each day, said Superintendent Dr. Charles Jenks.

The changes to the Student Handbook approved by trustees included language providing families with future lunch debts the opportunity to access additional donated funds if they make a “good faith” effort to set up a payment plan with district administration, Jenks noted.

The Town of Marbleton launched a challenge to raise money to help provide meals for SCSD9 students in November. By the Dec. 12 Marbleton Town Council meeting, a coalition of community members, businesses and the town had raised $3,538 for SCSD9 to use “as needed” for student lunches.

The Town of LaBarge collected an additional $640 to the campaign, for a total of $4,178 raised before the holidays.

SCSD9 will send information about the changes to the food service charging procedures to families across the district, Jenks said.

LaBarge teacherages

LaBarge Mayor Larry Stepp discussed the possibility of forming an agreement with SCSD9 to rehabilitate teacherages located near LaBarge Elementary School. The teacherages are owned by SCSD9.

The town of LaBarge sought permission to repair the teacherages and lease them to families with children, said Stepp, in a bid to preserve the homes and attract families to the community.

Stepp called the current condition of the teacherages “dissapointing,” and encouraged the SCSD9 board to act quickly to avoid further deterioration.

An agreement to fix up the teacherages and rent the homes could help SCSD9 save on maintenance and utilities costs on the properties, Stepp added.

LaBarge was not looking to profit from leasing the teacherages, but instead find a way to benefit both the town and district.

“We don’t want to see (the teacherages) torn down,” said Stepp.

Jenks asked Stepp and LaBarge to submit a draft agreement for the SCSD9’s legal team to examine before the district could formally respond to the town’s request.

Additional district news

Following an executive session, SCSD9 trustees passed a unanimous motion to renew the following administrative contracts for the 2023-2024 school year: Amy Bell, principal, LaBarge and Big Piney elementary schools; Tyler Walker, Big Piney Middle School principal; Jeff Makelky, Big Piney High School principal and Melissa Mitchell, special education coordinator and social worker.

Trustees accepted a notice of retirement from Christine Willford effective at the end of the 2022-2023 school year.

“I appreciate your time and service,” Alan Vickrey, SCSD9 board chairman, told Willford.


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