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Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Middle school students to learn money basics

By Amy Kronenberger
ST. MARYS - Financial literacy and college and career readiness will soon be added to the district's middle school curriculum.
A new state mandate will require teachers to include financial education beginning next school year, Superintendent Mary Riepenhoff reported at Wednesday's regular school board meeting.
Students will learn the difference between a wage and a salary, gross versus net income, cash and credit and goods and services. They also will learn about a good work ethic, banking basics, economic decision-making, keeping a budget, paying bills and the role of taxes.
The students will participate in hands-on activities, including mock purchases with cash versus credit and debit cards, comparison shopping, calculation of discounts and sales tax and comparison of in-store versus catalog and online purchases, including shipping and handling costs, Riepenhoff said.
They also will participate in a program called Real World-Real Money offered by The Ohio State University Extension in Wapakoneta.
In other business, board members approved an increase in lunch prices for next school year to stay in compliance with the federal reimbursement guidelines. A school's lunch price must match the national average of $2.46 for the district to be reimbursed for students who qualify for free or discounted lunches.
Schools that are below the national average must increase their cost by a minimum of $.05 per year and no more than $.10 per year until they reach $2.46, Riepenhoff said. Prices will increase from $2 to $2.05 for grades K-5 and $2.45 to $2.50 for grades 6-12. Prices for adult lunches, breakfast for all grades and milk will stay the same.
As part of their plan to cut $1 million from the 2011-2012 budget, the school will reduce bus pickup locations for sixth- through twelfth-graders from 148 to 88. Families affected by these changes will be notified, Riepenhoff said. The changes will save the school about $8,000.
The reduction in routes is among nearly a dozen cuts the board previously approved if the five-year, 7.9-mill tax levy was rejected by voters in the May primary. The issue was defeated 594 to 2,281.
Doretta Nale, director of special education, told board members 32 students with disabilities recently took Ohio assessment tests to ensure they are improving in their work. Every student passed and all but one scored at an accelerated or advanced level, she said.  
A technology committee meeting was set for 4 p.m. May 18 at the district service center.
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