Editor's note: Corrections have been made to this article regarding how the bonus for cafeteria workers would be funded.

WINCHESTER — Cafeteria workers in Winchester Public Schools could get a 5% bonus.

The proposed one-time, end-of-the-year bonus was discussed at a board work session Monday night. No action was taken.

If approved, the bonus would cost about $35,000 to fund. It would be funded with food service profits, which were in excess of $100,000 in 2018-19.

The School Board recently approved a 3% cost of living increase for all school division staff, so the bonus would be in addition to that.

Fifty cafeteria workers are employed by the school division. They are paid $9.09 to $15.55 an hour, depending on the amount of their experience when hired, according to Chris Matthias, operations coordinator for the division.

School Board Vice Chairperson Marie Imoh asked Matthias if the 5% bonus would be enough to make the division’s school cafeteria pay competitive locally.

“I don’t have the exact answer to that. What I do know is it’s going to get us much closer to where we need to be,” Matthias said.

He said in an email on Tuesday that while he doesn’t have “exact calculations as to how we compare with the other districts at this point” he does know that cafeteria pay in WPS is lower than other neighboring school divisions.

Van Heukelum said the bonus could become an annual occurrence.

In a separate matter, the board discussed increasing school lunch prices by 10 cents, from $3.05 to $3.15 for students and $3.70 to $3.80 for adults. School breakfasts would increase by 5 cents, from $1.45 to $1.50 for students and $1.95 to $2 for adults. This would help offset cost increases.

School Board members Karen Holman and Bryan Pearce-Gonzales said they were supportive of approving the bonus and raising cafeteria prices.

In other business, the School Board is considering raising tuition for non-resident students by $13, from $7,400 to $7,413. The fee is based on a formula that is basically the city’s appropriation to the school division divided by enrollment.

The School Board also is considering raising the fee for F-1 foreign exchange students by $674, from the current $14,523 to $15,197 in fiscal 2020.

— Contact Anna Merod at amerod@winchesterstar.com

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