Farmington schools to increase breakfast price

Joshua Kellogg
Carlos Palma, left, and Jesus Flores help carry boxes containing food Friday into Eldadiana Arzate's second-grade class at McCormick Elementary School in Farmington as part of the Breakfast Before the Bell program.

FARMINGTON – The Farmington school board approved an increase to the price of breakfast Thursday night to help overcome a large loss of state funding for the Breakfast After the Bell program.

The Farmington Municipal School District Board of Education approved a 50-cent increase to the price of breakfast, bringing the new cost to $1.50 for the 2016-2017 school year.

The district had its state funding for the program cut from about $150,000 for the 2014-2015 school year to about $16,000 for the 2015-2016 school year, according to Jaynelle Minor, the district’s student nutrition supervisor.

“It was a big loss for the program,” food service director Marie Yilla said during her presentation to the board.

Pablo Montes eats an orange slice Friday at McCormick Elementary School in Farmington as part of the Breakfast After the Bell program.

Minor said the Breakfast After the Bell program provides free breakfast to all students at Animas, Apache, Bluffview, Esperanza and McCormick elementary schools. About 2,500 students enrolled at the five schools are able to participate in the program, according to Minor.

Schools are eligible for the program when 80 percent or more of their students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, Yilla said.

During the board presentation, Yilla said the district served a total of 599,107 meals from December 2014 to December 2015 with 423,489 of the meals served for free.

Minor said the great advantage to the program is that it ensures that all students eat a nutritious breakfast, which helps with mental clarity and increases the student’s ability to learn in the classroom.

McCormick Principal Lyn White said in a phone interview Thursday afternoon the school has been involved in the program for about five years, and it has become an important component of the school’s operations.

McCormick Elementary School second-grade student Noe Acosta drinks milk Friday at McCormick Elementary School in Farmington as part of the Breakfast After the Bell program.

“We kind of depend on it. It’s something we have gotten used to,” White said.

In other business, an action item to approve funding for renovations for the new San Juan College High School was removed from the agenda before the start of Thursday's meeting.

Ted Lasiewicz, the district's chief of operations, said during the meeting more time was needed to complete the resolution, and a special meeting might be required to discuss options to renovate space for the early college high school on the first floor of the Learning Commons building on San Juan College’s main campus.

San Juan College High School is the first early college high school in San Juan County and will allow students to earn their high school diploma and two years of college credit in four years. The high school is accepting applications this month from eight-grade students in San Juan County to apply for enrollment.

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627.