This FAQ is based on real questions submitted on our website. We hope these answers may be helpful to a wider audience. Please note that questions appear as authored but may be abbreviated. No staff names will be published.
Question: …But our concern is, and I could be wrong, is why the high school lunches are more expensive then the elem. And the proportions are the same. I am concerned that these kids are huge and they get hardly anything to eat for lunch but there are many options for them to BUY more stuff. We are spending more money on lunches than ever before. I think it is almost a way of taking advantage of kids because they are not getting full from the main meal so there are all of these other fun things for them to buy. Our kids have to use their own money to buy the extra things but I think it is getting out of hand. Of course when you have other options, at a very high price, the kids are going to buy them. Even a bottle of water, when they don’t drink milk they should get water instead for the meal but they have to pay for it instead…
Answer: Lots of questions here…Let’s break it down...
Cost: We’re feeling the pinch in our own lunchroom that families feel at the grocery store. Food prices keep increasing as does the price for transporting. Until the last year the price charged for lunch had not changed for five years. Every effort has been made to adjust and produce meals efficiently. The staff makes as much as possible from scratch for better tasting, less expensive meals. In comparison, these increases will put prices at Bondurant-Farrar at the state average cost for school meals and lower than the costs at most surrounding districts. A la carte items are priced to include overhead and are for-profit; however, prices for these items is significantly less than prices in surrounding district.
Portion Size: In an effort to combat childhood obesity, the recently-implemented Healthy Kids Act does provide additional legislation on foods available at school. State and Federal guidelines are followed on portion size. Generally the main course portion is sized similar for both elementary and secondary students. Fewer fruits and vegetables are offered at the elementary, but secondary students can eat as much as they want at no additional cost. They get a larger portion of dessert and have a salad bar available every day. These guidelines also specify what qualifies for a lunch component; water does not fit these guidelines.
Question: What is the school’s position on class trips?
Answer: Field trips can provide a meaningful link with the curriculum for students. Only full-funded field trips with a tie to the curriculum are approved.
A recent Iowa Supreme Court ruling provides that a class field trip during the school day or any trip required for a class is part of the curriculum. Consequently the student/parent cannot be billed extra and transportation must be provided. Transportation is expensive. The District cost per mile is $4…a grade level trip to the Civic Center would cost ~$300 + the price of a ticket for admission.
Anyone wishing to fund a field trip is encouraged to contact the Bondurant-Farrar Education Foundation to do so.
Comparing BF w/ other districts
Question: Where does the school rank in relation to other schools in the state for academic achievement?
Answer: At BFCSD we’re proud of our students’ achievements both academic and extra-curricular. We produce an annual District Report Card to detail those results. These are mailed to all box holders in the fall. If you can’t find yours, you can check it out on-line at our website. The Department of Education also offers a website that allows you to view up to 6 different schools on a variety indicators of success: http://www.iowaschoolprofiles.com/profilesdist.asp?new=1
Community Service Rumor
Question: There will be a community service requirement in order to graduate from Bondurant, there is one person that is in charge of the program, and he/she has the final say as to if the activity qualified in her/her eyes as community service. If this is true I have a number of questions and concerns….
Answer: In the social studies department there is a senior class requirement for community service as a part of the required Government class. The classroom teacher oversees the project as part of the class. Students have an opportunity to elect a service completed by a past graduate or propose something new.
Question: How much money have we made up from our debt problem? How much money do we still owe? Does this money need to be paid back?
Answer: Since Fiscal Year 2005, the District has operated with a deficit (negative) undesignated fund balance which is often interpreted as a debt. This deficit is not a debt that is owed to an outside source but rather an internal debt by which money has been borrowed from other funds within the District and/or money that has been earmarked for a specific use has been borrowed for another use.
The amount of earmarked funds does need to be replenished as those specific allocations are to be spent in specific ways. The borrowings between the District’s funds do have to be paid back. The Board has approved a seven year plan of repayment with the intent to review on an annual basis the District’s financial ability of repayment. With the state economic conditions and possibility of additional cuts, the repayment plan may have to be adjusted.
The District aggressively addressed the financial challenges during fiscal 2009 and made great strides in reducing the deficit. Even though great strides were made in fiscal 2009, the length of recovery may be hampered due to the current state’s economic status.
The fiscal 2009 audit has been released and is posted on the District’s website. We encourage you to review.