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Mechanicsburg Schools

Price of school meals to increase for Mechanicsburg Area School District next year

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Mechanicsburg High School

Mechanicsburg Area Senior High School.

Students and teachers in the Mechanicsburg Area School District can expect to dig a little deeper in their pockets when purchasing school meals in the 2022-23 school year.

On Tuesday night, the Mechanicsburg Area School Board approved the district’s food service budget for the 2022-23 school year that includes a 10 cent price increase for school meals at every level.

Elementary meals next year will cost $2.65, and secondary meals will cost $2.90. Adult meals are priced at $4.10. All breakfasts cost $1.80, but milk prices remain at 60 cents.

District director of business operations/CFO Greg Longwell attributed rising district purchasing costs for food items and related supplies as factors in the price increases. Also, district food service salaries are to increase by 3% next year, and the district plans an additional position of food services coordinator.

Although the district projects a 2.35% increase in food service revenues next year, it also calculates a 5.26% rise in affiliated 2022-23 spending. Although the approved budget now carries a $43,623 deficit, Longwell said the monetary shortfall could be impacted later by “increased (National School Lunch Program) meal reimbursements or an increase in (consumer) participation.”

New contract with teachers

In other news, the school district finalized a contract with the district’s teachers union. On Tuesday, the school board ratified a five-year contract between the district and the Mechanicsburg Education Association effective July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2027.

“The agreement acknowledges the significant contributions of our local taxpayers and our teachers. We recognize the important role that our community and teachers play in the education of our students,” Leidy said this week.

Mechanicsburg teachers will receive annual salary increases averaging between 3.1% and 3.2% for the duration of the contract that was ratified last week by the association, Leidy said. The agreement also continues medical, dental, vision and life insurance benefits included in a current five-year contract that expires June 30, 2022.

Bonds approved

The school board authorized Series 2022 general obligation bonds totaling $9.7 million. It is the first of three planned borrowings intended to fund an upcoming building renovation project at the high school. Tuesday’s bond terms extend through May 15, 2050, with an average yield of 4.25%, Leidy said.

In March, architect Brian Haines, of Crabtree, Rohrbaugh & Associates, Mechanicsburg, presented updated architectural renderings of the proposed project at a district finance/facilities meeting. The project would renovate portions of the high school. Plans include a series of “light” renovations in the high school’s two-story classroom wings that would involve new flooring, lighting and painting in all rooms.

The project also would replace the high school’s roof and food service equipment, and upgrade its mechanical, plumbing, electrical and security systems and technology access. Haines said last month that final board approval for plans is expected this summer, with construction potentially starting in early 2023.

The proposal involves a project separate from a $24 million expansion that’s now underway at the school. The building was constructed in 1968, with additions and renovations in 1981 and 2001.

The district plans to strategize a “three-prong approach” for financing the renovation project that comprises borrowing the initial $9.7 million sum approved Tuesday, and followed by an additional $30 million in early 2023. The district plans to borrow a final $10 million for the project in early 2024.

“We continue to evaluate the needs of our facilities, understanding that the district will continue to experience enrollment growth resulting from additional residential development. … As we study the needs of our high school, we understand that we need to remain cognizant of the needs associated with our academic programs, enrollment and building infrastructure, such as roof, HVAC, plumbing, etc.,” Leidy told The Sentinel this week.

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