Flu season hits school revenues

An increase in absences from sick students in January and February could negatively affect on an Albany County School District No. 1 revenue source.

ACSD No. 1 Business Manager Ed Goetz said a recent financial report he presented to the Board of Education shows the school district is continuing to lose money off school lunches and a lack of students purchasing meals at school could be part of the reason for the decrease.

“We had a number of absences in January,” Goetz said. “That did have an impact on participation (of students purchasing food from schools).”

During the time frame the financial report covers, medical professionals were dealing with an increase of people suffering cold and flu symptoms, including students, Laramie High School nurse Kirsten Quillinan said.

“We (were) in the height of cold and flu season, so we have had an increase in illness,” Quillinan said. “We probably saw about half the students that are sick are either not coming to school or they are coming in here and we are sending them home.”

LHS and Laramie Middle School have the highest numbers of students buying school lunch and provided the school district with about $132,000 combined in revenue for the school district in January, Goetz said. On the elementary school level, Linford Elementary School and the rural schools also have high numbers of students purchasing lunch.

“We really have students purchasing lunches more across elementary, junior high and high school levels,” he said. “But our participation at the rural schools and at Linford are probably the highest overall.”

ACSD No. 1 has two income sources when it comes to selling food at school, there is the sale of the food itself and there is funding from the federal government to assist students in getting meals. Goetz said, the amount of money the school district receives from the federal funding has increased by about $100,000 since November.

“Last fiscal year, we had a total revenue of $1.3 million,” he said. “That was for both from student payments and from reimbursement through the National School Lunch Program funding.”

According to information provided by ACSD No. 1, Linford Elementary School received about $60,000 in income from students purchasing school lunches and the federal reimbursement in January, but the school district lost money at Linford that month. Linford also had about $90,000 in expenses that month, totaling a loss of about $29,000 in January.

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