Wednesday, May 22, 2019
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Students at the Sharyland Independent School District may pay an additional 50 cents for their meal at the next school year.

The Sharyland School Board of Trustees met Wednesday at a board workshop to discuss the meal price increase, which would raise the price of a school meal from $2.50 to $3 at the elementary level and from $3 to $3.50 for high school students.

As this was a board workshop, the board won’t take action on this and any other items discussed Wednesday until the upcoming April 30 school board meeting.

The suggested price increase is due to an equity study by the Texas Department of Agriculture which shows the district is not in compliance with TDA requirements of the price of school meals. According to the district’s finance director, Jaime Ortega, the pricing for student meals should reflect equity between the free and reduced price meals the district offers and the federal reimbursement the district receives.

At the current pricing the district offers, however, Sharyland is charging too little for school lunches and could potentially face financial sanctions where they’d have to pay the difference to TDA.

“With this increase, the district will generate more than $127,000 which will contribute to a balanced budget,” Ortega said.

Cynthia Sanchez, the district’s child nutrition director, said Sharyland is the only school district in the region that still charges for student meals.

After the presentation, Board President Julio Cerda thanked Sanchez and Ortega for making the school’s budget as tight as possible for the students to afford the meal increase.

The board also discussed the possibility of naming either the field at Sharyland High School’s Richard Thompson Stadium or the stadium at Pioneer High School after School Board Trustee Noe Oliveira.

“This is a way to appreciate his legacy and all he’s done for the district,” district Superintendent Robert O’Connor said Wednesday, adding that Oliveira is the longest serving current board member. “I’ve visited with all school board members and everyone is excited about naming something after Dr. Oliveira who has been dedicated to the district for a very long time.”

Oliveira was first elected to the board in 2001 and served as its president during the 2005-2006 school year before leaving the board and coming back in 2010, according to the district’s website.

School Board member Noel O. Garza is part of a committee to name a building after Oliveira, Garza said, adding that the board will have to come up with a consensus to pick which building they’ll dedicate to Oliveira by the April 30 school board meeting

“If we name the field at Sharyland after him, the stadium would still be named after Richard Lee Thompson but the filed would have Oliveira’s name,” Garza said. “But at Pioneer, the stadium doesn’t have a name, everyone just calls it the ‘Pioneer Stadium’ so naming it after Oliveira would make it official.”

School Board President Julio Cerda said the discussions to dedicate the facilities after Oliveira are in the preliminary stages. However, he said naming a facility after Oliveira would be the ultimate sign of appreciation for Oliveira.

“Oliveira is someone that I’ve really admired for the work he does on a daily basis,” Cerda said. “He gives his time to us and never expects anything in return. It’s admirable.”