Numbers Looking Up for Proposed Food Service Budget

School District Business Administrator Peter Curro and Food Service Director Nancy Faucon presented the Food Service budget to the school board, noting it has come up short for the past couple of years.
“While the costs are covered by the revenue from sales of food and related items, unfortunately the revenue audit reports for the last couple of years show that the program has come short for the last two or three years,” Curro told the School Board at its Thursday, Dec. 19 meeting. “In FY 12 there was a $20,000 transfer from the operating fund to the food service; in FY 13, there was $17,255.”

Curro said the transfer was required because of a federal law that states a food service program cannot end in a deficit position, with any deficit position to be made up from the general fund or operating budget.
Curro said the federal government requires certain items be on the menu for a meal to be federally reimbursable.
“We are still working through the requirements of the lunch program, portions sizes required and what is qualified as a reimbursable meal,” Curro said. “If the student’s meal does not qualify, then we cannot get the following reimbursements from the feds: Free is $2.99, reduced is $2.59, and other students are 34 cents. If a student qualifies as free and/or reduced, if that student does not take a reimbursable meal, that student or family gets charged for the meals.”
Curro said current lunch prices are $2.10 at the high school, $2 at the middle school and $1.70 at the elementary schools. Compared to other Class L schools in the area, Londonderry meal charges are lower.
“You should be reminded that federal law requires us to gradually get to what is called the average rate for federal law to get to $2.65 per meal,” he said. “What they are trying to do is get the average lunch price for everybody to $2.65.”
Curro said FY 14 looks better than last year. Revenues are better and costs are in line, he said, but noted two negatives – $30,000 spent on two new ovens at the middle school and the program has to fund two lease payments in the same year.
“There are several benchmarks that we use as tests,” he said, noting that one is meals per man hours. The high school does better than the benchmark, but North and South schools do not meet the benchmark.
“The benchmark is 48 percent and we are at 51 percent,” Curro said.
He expects to seek a price increase in May.
“There are no capital needs for FY 15,” he said. “We expect revenue to increase.
Curro added that Faucon is one of the founders of the New Hampshire Coop, a group of school districts, including Londonderry, that bid out much of the food that cafeterias use.
He told the board the budget “miraculously shows a break-even point. We believe that if everything comes to play, we expect in FY 15 there will be a modest profit.
The budget for 2013-2014 is $5,562.21 and the 2014-2015 estimate is $5,562.
Board Chairman Nancy Hendricks asked if they were on track to be in the black and Curro said they were not because of the ovens.
“I think we’re close,” Curro said.
Board member Leitha Reilly said she was disappointed that among the schools that were polled, they had to charge $2 per meal to break even. Curro said he didn’t think Londonderry would have to get to $2 to break even.

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