Chamois R-1 to participate in free meal program

By Theresa Brandt, UD Staff Writer
Posted 7/3/24

CHAMOIS — At their June 12 meeting, Chamois R-1 school board members approved the district’s participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) that would allow free breakfast and …

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Chamois R-1 to participate in free meal program


CHAMOIS — At their June 12 meeting, Chamois R-1 school board members approved the district’s participation in the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) that would allow free breakfast and lunch for all students for the next four years.

Superintendent Lyle Best explained that any school district is eligible for the federal program if 40% of elementary or high school students are deemed eligible for free lunches not based on income applications. Instead of filling out an income application, a student’s eligibility is based on their participation in other programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Students can also be eligible if they fall into other categories, including foster care, homeless, migrants, and Head Start. Chamois Elementary qualifies.

“This (program) has been around for a while; we just haven’t been eligible before,” Best said.

CEP does not require students in the district to fill out income applications to qualify for free breakfast and lunch. The district will be reimbursed based on the number of meals it serves at the “free lunch rate” of 67.6% of the cost, which is currently $4.24, and reimbursed at a lower rate for remaining meals.

“The goal would be to increase participation,” Best explained. “We’ve got to make sure that everybody gets a meal, even if they bring their lunch from home. They can get lunch, and they can give what they don’t want to someone else, or they can put it on the ‘share table,’ and someone else can have it.”

Best noted that staff has noticed that if a student takes a lunch, they typically eat at least some part of it.

Board President Steve Cramer asked if the district would see a financial loss from the program.

“If we can increase participation, I think we will be okay,” Best replied. “If not, we may see some sort of loss. We really need to work on getting good participation.”

“If every student has to get a tray regardless, are we worried about waste?” Cramer asked. “That’s my only concern; I think it’s a great plan.”

Best said that in talking to other districts, waste has not been a problem, especially if students are able to share food they don’t want with others.

Students will be required to purchase a la carte items and additional items they may want.

In related news, the school board approved an adult price of $2.75 for school breakfast and lunch, up from $2.50 for the upcoming school year. Adult lunch prices will remain the same at $3.75

• Board members approved several contracts to provide services for the 2024-25 school year. The Ability Network, Inc., will pay the Speech Language Pathologist $115 per hour, and the Speech Language Pathologist Assistant will earn $70 per hour.

— The Special Learning Center was approved to provide Occupational Therapy for district students at the rate of $72 per hour and mileage reimbursement of $.65 per mile.

— Lock’s Mill Propane, Inc., was approved to provide the school district propane at $1.40 per gallon.

— Prairie Farms was approved to furnish milk at $.3612 per half-pint for 1% white milk, $.3395 per half-pint for skim white milk, $.3835 for a half-pint of 1% chocolate milk and $.3835 per half-pint of milk for 1% strawberry milk.

— Havener’s Termite and Insect Control of Owensville will provide service at a rate of $58 per month.

• The school board approved an amendment to the district salary schedule for certified staff to meet Missouri’s new minimum salary of $40,000 per year, an increase from the expected $38,000 teacher minimum. This update will comply with the district’s agreement with the state. However, the adoption of the $40,000 salary minimum isn’t mandatory until next year. The state will cover all salary and benefits increases.

• Board members approved curriculum instruction stipends for teachers who worked with independent consultants in June.

• The school board approved mandatory policy updates from DESE, including Policy #5550, which maintains consistent meal account procedures throughout the school district and prohibits discrimination of any kind. Policy #6180 addresses how English Language Learners (ELL) are identified and how parents and guardians are properly notified of their children’s enrollment in the ELL program.

• Board members approved outstanding bills totaling $128,567.54, and the transfer of $170,385 from Fund #1 to Fund #2 to be used for future capital projects.

• Osage County R-1 school district had the following account balances: general ($2,358,085), special ($161,523), and capital projects ($564,491).


Best explained that some of the bills passed by the Missouri State Legislature will not go into effect for another year; however, in some cases, funding will go into effect for the upcoming school year. He noted there is a possibility that Chamois R-1 will receive additional state funding from these legislative changes.

• All the old playground equipment has been taken out, the rock has been removed, and the district is waiting to schedule a time to have the new equipment installed with contractors. Best was hoping that installation may start as early as next week.

• Several appliances in the kitchen will receive some minor repairs. The school district is replacing the carpet in the Special Education and Drivers Education rooms with vinyl plank flooring.

• The painting of the gym beams is complete. The area above the stage could not be painted because of concerns voiced by the painters.

“Once they got going, it seemed like they did a good job,” Best said.

• The gym flooring is being sanded. Best hopes that Luebbering Flooring will be done with everything soon.

• Five staff members attended the District Improvement Conference.

“It was a good conference,” Best said. “It was really good to go to at the end of the school year to talk and focus on instruction without the distractions of being in the middle of the school year.”

Best noted that Christy Nolte led a session and did a wonderful job.

“We are very proud of her, “Best said.


Principal Jeremy McKague reported that on July 6, the district’s Environmental Club will go on a guided float trip of Meramec Springs with Earth’s Classroom. McKague noted that the group has about nine members.