Camden school meals' cost to increase


By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Monday, June 17, 2019

CAMDEN — A few changes are in store for Camden County students when school resumes in August.

For starters, school meals will cost a little extra.

Second of all, high school students will be eligible to study for careers in firefighting.

Finally, there will be new criteria for determining which students participate in the Camden County Schools’ academically and intellectually gifted program.

The changes were approved during the Camden Board of Education’s meeting Thursday night.

Andrea Lee, nutrition director for the Camden County Schools, asked the board to increase the cost of student meals. Lee requested an increase of 5 cents for breakfast and an increase of 10 cents for lunch. Lee said the price increases were necessary to offset the cost of cafeteria expenses.

The school board approved her request without discussion. As a result, starting in August, students will pay $1.40 for breakfast and $2.80 for lunch.

The school board also approved a new program that will prepare students for careers in firefighting.

Carol Overton, career technical education and instructional technology director for the district, presented a memorandum of understanding for creation of a firefighting program at the high school. The program was approved by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, pending the local board’s approval of the memorandum, she said.

The South Camden Fire Department has agreed to be the program’s supporting agency, Overton said. According to the memorandum, the fire department will provide technical assistance to the program’s instructor and equipment to help train students, she said.

Students will get practical instruction in many areas of firefighting. However, because the students taking the class will not be at least 18 years old they will not be allowed to enter a live burning structure, Overton said.

Asked by a school board member if that limitation would also apply to a student who happens to be 18, Overton said that is something that could be addressed once the program is up and running.

Overton said she will return the board’s approved memorandum to DPI for final approval. The firefighting program will begin at the high school in January 2020, she said. About 20 students already have expressed interest.

Hannah Saunders, the academically and intellectually gifted program teacher at Grandy Primary School, gave the board an update on the district’s new AIG plan. The biggest and most readily noticeable change is that it’s longer than the previous plan. The new plan is 48 pages, compared to the older, 20-page plan.

The new plan also revises the criteria for how the district identifies students as academically or intellectually gifted. This was done to make the criteria more transparent and easier for parents to understand. For instance, the initials IG now identify a student as intellectually gifted. The initials AI identify a student as academically and intellectually gifted. The criteria also identify students who may be talented in a specific subject. For example, the initials AM indicate a student is academically gifted in math, Saunders explained.

Also new is the talent development period for students has been extended beyond the third grade. Saunders said seven rising fourth-graders will continue in talent development, bringing the total number to 52 between Grandy Primary and Camden Intermediate schools. Between the same two schools, there are another 48 students in the AIG program, she said.

The school board approved the revised AIG plan as presented by Saunders.