JOHNSTOWN - The Greater Johnstown School District's school lunch program appears to be on the fiscal upswing as hoped, district officials said last week.
Officials weighed in on the financial status of the program at the Board of Education program Thursday at Johnstown High School.
Board member Douglas Dougherty said he's starting to notice the program is more in the black than the red lately.
"The lunch program is turning itself around," school Business Manager Alice Sise said.
She said the district is using more government surplus food in its lunches. She also noted the district increased lunch prices with the new school year.
During the last school year, district officials made changes to reduce the district's cost for the food service program. The district had to use $150,000 out of the general fund the last school year, but hopes to cut that in half to $75,000 for the 2012-13 school year.
The school lunch for students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade was increased from $2 per lunch to $2.25 this fall. The seventh- through 12th- grade lunches increased from $2.25 per lunch to $2.50.
Superintendent Robert DeLilli reminded the board that it's still very early in the school year.
"I'm going to be interested in the one-month numbers," DeLilli told the board.
Also, the district ended its policy allowing some Johnstown High School students off campus at lunchtime.
"It's going very well," JHS Assistant Principal Ray Ruby told the board.
Officials speculated that with more high school students buying the lunches, the program may get a fiscal boost.
Ruby said the school has two lunches of 20 minutes each, with overlapping periods. He also said there is more staff -"quite a few adults in each cafeteria" - to oversee JHS lunches.
He said the high school would eventually like to go back to "rewarding" some seniors for "excellent" work by allowing them off campus at lunch.
Public speaker Dick Baker of Route 67 said since the Johnstown and Gloversville school districts combined bus services, maybe they should look at a combined lunch programs.
Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org