FOXBURG - Allegheny-Valley School District food service director Grant Grasha explained to the district's board of directors March 16 why A-C Valley students are not currently eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch meals during the Coronavirus pandemic.

According to Grasha, 46.9 percent of A-C Valley elementary and high school students are considered eligible for free and reduced lunches at the district.

However, that means the district does not meet the 50 percent guideline required for free or reduced lunches during the pandemic as outlined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pennsylvania Department of Education, National School Lunch Program, and School Breakfast program.

"If we were to (provide meals), since we're under the 50 percent, we would only provide meals to our free and reduced kids," said Grasha. "Our paid kids wouldn't receive meals because we have to target the low income families, not the entire district."

School board president Jennifer Feicht said the information PDE originally provided regarding meals being offered by Pennsylvania schools was "a little misleading."

"Now all of the information we're getting from the USDA and PDE is we're not going to be reimbursed for anything unless we meet that 50 percent threshold," said Feicht. "Everything we would provide would have to come out of the general operating fund and reserves. We wanted to be clear about why we're not able to do that at this particular point."

Grasha added even if the district could provide the meals to all students, any sort of grab and go operation could not have started until March 25 at the earliest.

"We don't keep excess inventory here," said Grasha. "My freezers are pretty bare. We don't have the means to get it started until next Wednesday and that's if my truck would come at 6 a.m. on Tuesday as planned, which may not happen."

Grasha noted the school will lose approximately $3,000 worth of milk and fresh produce disposed of as a result of school closures. Most other foods pulled for service were placed back in a freezer. An inventory loss sheet will be provided to the board in April.

By law, the district was also not permitted to donate the disposed milk and produce.

"PDE sent out a form that said all foods have to stay inside the districts until date of expiration because they use federal and state funds to purchase the foods," Grasha said.

Florida baseball trip

A-C Valley baseball coaches Dewey Irwin and Mike Weigle informed the board the team's scheduled trip to Disney Spring Training at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida was canceled due to Coronavirus concerns.

The trip was scheduled to take place from March 21 through 28. Irwin said Disney has offered a full refund, and Southwest Airlines would likely refund the flight deposits as well.

Irwin noted while he believes the baseball season may be canceled entirely soon, the coaches still would like to use the funds raised by the current team for the Florida trip for a potential separate trip, contingent on if the virus' spread decreases in the near future and the board's permission.

"We would like to do something with them since they did not get their trip, whether it is a couple of months down the road and taking them to Cleveland," said Irwin.

Feicht told Irwin coaches would not need permission from the district for a trip scheduled in the summer, but asked that the board be kept updated on future plans.

Other news

lBus contractor Rich Bobbert asked board members if they knew whether drivers were going to be paid during the closure period or whether the district was going to make up lost days.

Superintendent David McDeavitt said by school code, the district is to make up those days if possibly by June 30, but PDE has left open the possibility of the days being waived.

"Ohio is already talking about (closing schools for the rest of the year) and that's scary because that will put us bus contractors out," said Bobbert. We're done; you're going to lose us all."

Several board members collectively indicated while the district does not have much information regarding the situation so far, contractors should contact the district's office with questions and they will be offered as much information as is available at the time.

lThe board approved the E-rate proposal for internal connections equipment and services from CS Technologies plus at a cost not to exceed $99,531, pending the release of the fully funded E-rate money. The district will be responsible for approximately 30 percent of the total cost.

lThe board accepted a natural gas contract with UGI Energy Services, LLC for the year starting August 2020 through July 2022 at a rate of $2.85 per dekatherm.

lThe board approved the hiring of Megan Bashline as junior high track coach, pending receipt of all appropriate documentation at a supplemental salary of $659.

The board's next scheduled meeting is set to take place at 6 p.m. April 20 in the elementary school library.