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Lunch costs to increase for some students next year

Published April 13. 2011 05:00PM

The cost for some students to eat lunch is expected to increase next year in the Northern Lehigh School District.

Superintendent Michael Michaels announced to the school board on Monday that the state has mandated an increase in cafeteria prices.

Susan Bahnick, food service director, said full-paid students in the district will see a five-cent increase in their lunch prices in the 2011-12 school year.

"We don't have a choice," Bahnick said. "The state's mandating it."

Only full-paid students will have to pay the extra five-cent fee. Reduced lunch students will not be affected.

Also on Monday, the board, on an 8-0 vote with one abstention, agreed to reject a resolution for the Lehigh Career & Technical Institute general fund budget and Academic Center expenditures for the 2011-12 school year.

Director Lauren Ganser said she abstained from the vote "due to personal reasons."

The general fund budget total is $22,695,822, which represents a 2.38-percent, or $527,240 increase. Northern Lehigh's portion of the 2011-12 general fund budget would be $955,392.

The expenditures for the Academic Center Budget for the period of July 1, 2011, through June 30, 3012, totals $1,329,830, which represents a 6.56-percent, or $81,830 increase.

Prior to the vote, board President Edward Hartman said he believed it was time for the district to take a stand on the matter.

"What I don't understand is why we, as a school district, who are hurting financially, why don't we stand up and say enough," Hartman said. "It's time for somebody to stand up and say these people got to cut like we do."

Hartman said that while he supports LCTI, Lehigh Carbon Community College, and the Carbon-Lehigh Intermediate Unit, Northern Lehigh is his top priority.

"These are great schools," he said. "My first responsibility is to Northern Lehigh; not the Schnecksville Three."

Director Lori Geronikos, who serves as the district's LCTI representative, said she has made it a point to express her opinions on the matter.

"Our students at Northern Lehigh do receive a very good education at LCTI," Geronikos said. "We want them to know that they are worth every penny; our students at LCTI are the cream that rises to the top."

Geronikos added that she is "very proud to be your representative, and very proud of our LCTI students."

Director Gary Fedorcha said that while he doesn't want to cut programs or aid to LCTI, "I just think they can come up with other cuts."

"We have really cut our budgets to the bare bones," Fedorcha said. "I want to make sure we give our students every chance."

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