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NPS Board of Education Agrees On Food Services, Revised Budget Moves To Next Phase

Superintendent Shawn Arnold helps a student attach a reflector keychain to her backpack. Photo: Laura Kraegel, KNOM.

NANA Management Services (NMS) will continue to provide food services for Nome Public Schools for at least another year.

During last night’s Nome Public Schools Board of Education meeting, Shawn Arnold, superintendent for NPS, stated that the food services rate won’t increase this year.

“The good thing about the services was there was no rate (increase) because they recognized the current budget climate. Even though we’ve got some kind of saving grace there for this next year, NMS agreed that they would not raise their prices. They only raised it after three years of partnering with them; they raised it last year when we thought we were coming out of a good year”

According to Arnold, under this year’s agreement each student lunch costs $6.74 and breakfast costs $4.49.

Board Member Nancy Mendenhall questioned if anything could be done to limit the food being wasted or put it to better use.

“If we had a chicken farm we could feed a lot of chickens on what gets thrown away there. It really made me sick,” said Mendenhall.

Arnold said they could discuss that with the Food Services manager in the near future. After the Board unanimously approved the food services agreement with NMS, came the topic of budgets.

Arnold began the discussion on NPS’s second budget revision by thanking the City of Nome.

“The City did increase their contribution. I would like to point out the City of Nome was one of the lowest local contributed first-class cities in the State of Alaska. With their recent prioritizing of education, it was increased, but we’re still not one of the top first-class cities in the State, but it definitely moved the bar on contributions to education. I would like to of course thank the City of Nome for prioritizing that”

Despite being able to restore everything that was cut during the budget drafting process, Arnold says he doesn’t view it as a victory for Nome Public Schools.

“Being flat funded isn’t really a good thing still, we still have higher utilities, higher benefit costs, still have folks that are moving on the salary scales. So I don’t look at it as a win for our school district, or for the kids and the children of Alaska.”

Although the second budget revision was passed last night, the final NPS budget won’t be passed until a later date. The Board of Education meets again for a work session on Tuesday (July 25th) at 5:30pm.