Tri-City Ledger -

By Gretchen McPherson
Ledger staff 

School program offers free meals


June 21, 2018

It looks like every student who attends Escambia County (Ala.) schools will have access to a free breakfast and free lunch every day of the week, following the approval of a federal Child Nutrition Program (CNP) by the Escambia County Board of Education last Thursday.

“This program enables us to qualify for all students to participate in the free lunch program due to the poverty level,” said Superintendent John Knott. “We will not lose any funding from other program funds if we implement this. There are not a lot of school systems statewide that participate with the CNP.”

Knott said federal funds, such as Title I, Title 2, Title 5 and others are all connected with data that comes back from the free lunch program. He also noted that the program is renewable every four years and the school system can opt at any time.

“We still have to count the students who eat breakfast and lunch,” said Knott. “We are hoping for more participation. The qualification for this program is at least 40 percent of the students participate, or qualify, which all our school do now. It has the same nutritional guidelines we follow. Breakfast will be offered inside the classroom or at a kiosk just inside the school for those coming in the last minute.”

In a motion made by board member Cindy Jackson and seconded by board member Mike Edwards, the motion carried.

Building projects

In other business, Knott reported that the Flomaton High School concessions stand and restroom building project will definitely be finished the last week of July and maybe before.

“The inspector here was inspecting last week,” said Knott. “We will finish under budget and sooner than our deadline. We have also eliminated that dip in front of the library door that caused problems.”

Knott told board members that on the W.S. Neal High School renovation project, specifications for bids have been put out and the process of pre-qualifying contractors has started.

The two major concerns about the project are the roof and finishing the rest of the project.

“On the roof project, two contractors have been eliminated for the same reasons-lack of experience and inadequate performance on other jobs,” said Knott. “The remaining contractors had a meeting, including DB Roofing contractors. The four general contractors that looked at the job were still on site reviewing the job to make sure its gets done right, going through the materials to see what we have left. We are hoping for bids at the end of next week, but we are giving them until the last week in June to submit their bids.”

The three options for the roof, according to Knott, are to repair the existing roof, remove it totally and reroof or retro fit the new roof.

Knott says they want a contractor to give them the cost of getting it repaired and give them an alternate bid for a retrofit. He said he hopes then to have something concrete, not just an estimate.

Board member Coleman Wallace inquired what the opinion on the quality of a retrofit is. Knott said that according to the Alabama Building Commission and the warranty issuer of the roof, a retrofit is very comparable to a new roof.

The next board meeting will be at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, July 26, at the Brewton central office.


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