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HICKORY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Meal prices to increase for Hickory schools next year, dress code policy updated

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Hickory Public Schools Child Nutrition Director Kristen Bealler talks to the district school board about meal price changes.

Student meal prices are increasing at Hickory Public Schools in the coming school year.

The Hickory Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to increase breakfast prices by 25 cents and lunch prices by 30 cents. The vote came at a meeting Monday evening.

Hickory Public Schools Child Nutrition Director Kristen Bealler said breakfasts would cost $1.50, elementary school lunches would increase to $2.75 and middle and high school lunches would cost $3. Prices for the Grab-N-Go meals at the high school would increase 55 cents to $3.25.

Bealler estimated the district would lose more than $150,000 on meals without a price increase.

Bealler said the Catawba County Schools system currently charges $1.35 for breakfasts, $2.80 for elementary lunches and $2.90 for middle and high school lunches.

Bealler provided examples of price increases for items that are regularly served or used in school cafeterias.

In the 2021-2022 school year, chicken patties were 69 cents per serving. In the 2022-2023 school year the cost per serving will increase to 80 cents.

Garlic cheese bread was 46 cents per serving in 2021-2022. Bealler said the price increased to 63 cents for the coming school year.

The average weekly price for 5.5 ounce cups was $67.40 at the start of the 2021-2022 school year, the current estimated price has increased to $168.72.

The district could also face additional costs for new cafeteria equipment. Bealler said Hickory High School is in need of a new walk-in freezer, Jenkins and Oakwood elementary schools are in need of updated serving lines and Southwest Primary is in need of more cafeteria space.

Dress code policy update

The Hickory Public Schools Board of Education also voted to update the district’s dress code policy in regard to spaghetti straps on dresses and tops.

School board member Ittiely Carson pointed out the dress code had conflicting statements about spaghetti straps.

In the guidelines section, the policy states, “All shirts, blouses, spaghetti straps, tank tops and top garments shall cover the back and torso and have necklines and arm cuts that are not disruptive or distracting.” In the tops section of the policy it said any top is acceptable as long as it follows the recommended guidelines. However, the bottoms and dresses section reads, “Dresses are permissible but must not be sleeveless or have spaghetti straps.”

Carson said this could be confusing since the guidelines section is worded in a way to make spaghetti straps seem permissible.

Carson motioned to remove the words “spaghetti straps” from both sections of the policy. The guidelines portion of the policy will now read, “All shirts, blouses and top garments shall cover the back and torso and have necklines and arm cuts that are not disruptive or distracting.” The bottom and dresses portion of the policy will read, “Dresses are permissible, but must not be sleeveless.”

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