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Indian River theater program accepted to Fringe Festival

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PHILADELPHIA — The Board of Education approved a $3,000 deposit for six theater students to attend the American High School Theater Festival at the Fringe, an arts festival in Scotland.

Indian River Central’s theater program was accepted last month to perform at the world’s largest performing arts festival in August. However, some board members had some qualms about allowing the students to go abroad.

“Our school is impacted heavily with the military,” said board President Frank J. Laverghetta. “I’m worried about our kids leaving the country.”

Board member Peter D. Shue thought it was time to lay those fears to rest, however.

“We’ve been living in fear since 9/11. It’s time to move on,” he said. “These kids move all the time. They’re used to moving on.”

He congratulated Theater Director Kristi L. Fuller for the students being awarded a spot to perform at the festival abroad.

Board member Linda M. Capone was more concerned about the district’s policy to not allow student groups to travel overseas on the district’s dollar. She pointed out that the theater program asked for money to attend the festival in the past but ultimately did not have the funds to attend it.

Ms. Fuller said the total cost would be about $6,000 per student, but parents would only be responsible for $2,000 of it. The rest would be raised by soliciting donations from businesses. She said the students deserved to make the trip because they have been nominated for the festival four years in a row and have won numerous state awards for their productions.

“What I can tell you is that we’ve come up with corporate letters. We’ve come up with a corporate incentive,” she said. “Each parent is planning to visit 10 corporations each.”

Business Manager James R. Koch said the money being solicited can be put into the extracurricular funds.

“You guys have worked for it,” said Ms. Capone. “This is like an award for the drama club. If we’re going to do this, let’s not let the floodgates open. If another club comes through, we’re hit with it again.”

The board passed, 6-1, a proposal to allow a one-time exception to the policy. Board member Elnora M. Durgin was opposed.

The board also heard a cafeteria report from school lunch director Ann S. Easter. She said the board will have to increase school lunch prices to match the free and reduced lunch subsidy. For kindergarten through fifth grade, lunch will be increased to $1.85. From sixth grade through 12th grade, it will be increased to $2.10.

Inside the kitchens, the cost of fresh produce and added labor will increase the budget for the district due to federal requirements.

“We’re going back to scratch cooking, which is all well and good, but we’ve been avoiding that because it makes everything sub-sufficient,” she said.

She said the submarine sandwich station might have to be eliminated from the menu because the amount of bread servings per week goes over the grain limit.

Lunch participation has decreased from 74 percent to 71 percent over the last years. Ms. Easter was worried participation will drop further next year.

The district moved to the Nutrikids software management system in January. She noted this move has made the cafeteria more efficient. The lunch cashier has access to food allergies and parents can prepay for meals online. In addition, parents can also check to see what their child is putting on the tray.

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