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Jefferson school budget approved

The budget includes a slight tax hike and increases in the prices of school meals.

The budget includes a slight tax hike and increases in the prices of school meals.

April 29, 2003|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A $57.7 million budget that includes an increase in student and adult meal prices and funding for a part-time cultural diversity coordinator was approved by the Jefferson County Board of Education Monday night.

Prices for student and adult meals at county schools have not been increased in two years, but needed to be increased for the 2003-04 school year to offset increased food and labor costs, said Nancy White, treasurer for the school system.

Adult breakfast prices will increase by 25 cents to $2.25, student breakfasts will increase by 10 cents to $1.10, elementary lunches will increase by 10 cents to $1.35 and secondary lunch prices will increase by 10 cents to $1.60, White said.

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The budget also will include a tax increase, which is the result of county voters deciding last November to renew an excess levy for the school system, White said.

The excess levy included a slight tax increase.

For someone who owns a house assessed at $100,000, the tax increase means that person's tax bill will increase by $13.80 per year, school officials have said.

Before the budget was approved, schools officials were criticized for not filling a cultural diversity coordinator position in the central office.

The job of cultural diversity coordinator involves attracting minority administrators, insuring that cultural diversity is taught in the classroom and that students of various races are treated fairly, said George Rutherford, president of the Jefferson County Chapter of the NAACP.

Rutherford told the school board recently that the cultural diversity coordinator position has been vacant or inadequately filled for three years, and that sends a message that the school system does not value the effort.

As part of the formulation of the budget, school board President Lori Stilley said she planned to recommend to board members that the position be reinstated as a half-time position.

About $17,000 was included in the budget for the job, which will be a half-time position, White said.

Rutherford has said making the job half-time is "totally unacceptable."

Stilley said she hopes the school board can find grant money to expand the job to a full-time position.

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