Pearland ISD approves additional teaching positions, raises meal prices

The Pearland ISD school board approved the addition of 41.5 teacher positions and two classroom aide positions for the 2015-16 school year at its meeting April 21.

PISD administration officials presented two options for adding personnel and the board chose the option to add 41.5 teachers, which included eight more elementary school positions than the alternative option. The district will require more teachers to maintain its targeted student to teacher ratio with 509 new students projected to enroll in PISD next school year.

The new personnel positions are expected to cost $2.44 million in salary, PISD officials said.

The PISD board also voted to increase the prices for breakfast and lunch by 10 and 25 cents, respectively.

PISD officials said the district needed to increase the meal costs in order to comply with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The act requires the average paid lunch price to be at least equal to the difference between the free and paid federal reimbursement rates. As it stands, the difference is $2.70 and PISD's average paid lunch price is $2.51.

With excess in the food service fund reserve, PISD requested exemption waivers for the last two school years to avoid raising meal prices. The district could no longer justify a waiver with kitchen renovations at Carleston and Shadycrest elementaries totaling $2 million, officials said.

It is the first time since the 2008-09 school year that PISD has raised meal prices. The increase is expected to generate an additional $260,000 in annual sales.