Cities vote to approve middle school vocational and technical education expansion – Daily Bulldog

FARMINGTON — At the RSU Board of Directors meeting 9 Tuesday night, Chef Andy Hutchins spoke about Save 2 from the USDA, which provides students with free meals during the school day.

For four years, breakfasts and lunches for RSU 9 students will be paid for by the state under the second provision. The program ensures that the USDA and the state reimburse the school for every meal served, and helps ease administrative burdens on the district.

The school collects free and reduced-price meal requests during the first year, which eliminates the requirement for the school to collect meal benefit requests from families for the next three years.

“The good thing about us is that we get paid for every meal we serve,” Hutchins said. “In years past, we had to try to chase away the debt that families had accumulated over time.”

All debts that the families had previously owed were paid off, allowing the school to focus more on providing meals. Not a single school in the district has had fewer meals than they have served in previous years, and they are setting records in every school.

Concerned about rising food costs, director Alexander Kreznick asked Hutchins if food costs were becoming an issue. Hutchins stated that he was able to get most of the food they wanted, but there were a few situations where they had to make menu substitutions and adjustments due to the increase in food costs.

“I’ve been doing this for over thirty years and I’ve never seen a case of romaine lettuce cost $126,” Hutchins said. “On the higher end, it used to cost $40 to $50.”

Principal Christian Elkington announced the vote for the Mount Blue Prep School career
and expansion of technical education. In total, there were 7,804 affirmative votes and 884 negative votes.

The expansion is in partnership with the Bjorn Foundation, which will make a $2.5 million donation towards the cost of construction. The proposed expansion will include 5,000 square feet of teaching space in the middle school, including three large teaching spaces for hands-on learning, and a shared classroom for group instruction.

Some of the potential programs that CTE expansion will offer include architecture, construction, manufacturing, medicine, public safety, audio-visual technology, communications, and hospitality and tourism.

“This donation comes at an ideal time as feedback from our strategic planning shows a strong need for increased offerings to students that focus on real-life skills, workforce readiness, and hands-on learning,” the written proposal states.

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