Prince William County

The following were among actions taken at the June 20 meeting of the Prince William County School Board. For more information, call 791-8720.

SCHOOL LUNCH PRICES -- The School Board approved a 10-cent increase in school lunch prices, beginning in September, to help offset the increasing cost of labor and food and an expected decrease in federal food subsidies.

The increase will bring the price of a school lunch to $1.15 for elementary students, $1.20 for middle and high school students and $1.60 for adults. The increase is expected to raise an additional $350,000 annually. School lunch prices were last raised in September, 1989.

Prince William County schools, like those throughout the U.S., are expected to receive less surplus food, such as butter and non-fat dry milk, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the next school year. County schools received about $140,000 worth of surplus food in the school year that recently ended, and are expected to receive only $45,000 worth in the coming school year.

CURRICULUM AUDIT -- The board approved a contract with the American Association of School Administrators {AASA} to conduct the first external audit next fall of the curriculum in the county's 58 schools.

The AASA's final report of the audit results will include recommendations on how the schools can teach and test more effectively, according to Associate Superintendent of Instruction William Cox.

Although Prince William County has never before conducted an external audit of its school curriculum, the state Department of Education has ordered routine reviews of the school system to see if it is complying with state administrative regulations and learning objective standards.

Every 10 years, the state sends an outside team of educators into a school system to see if schools are meeting state learning objectives or accreditation standards. But that study involves on a "cursory" review of the schools' curriculum, Cox said. In addition, the state conducts an administrative review of school systems every five to seven years.

The AASA auditors study the schools' curriculum, testing, administrative regulations and board policies, interview teachers and administrators and observe classes in an attempt to determine whether the stated curriculum is being adhered to by teachers and on tests.

Two or three months after the audit, AASA will submit a final report and recommendations, Cox said.

The cost of the audit cannot exceed $45,000, according to the contract.

CHILD CARE -- The board approved plans to start a pilot program of before- and after-school child care in seven county schools this September. The program will be contracted out to a private day-care provider. {For more information, see related story in today's Weekly.}

City of Manassas Park

The following was among actions taken at the June 20 meeting of the Manassas Park School Board. For more information, call 361-9107.

READING PROGRAM EXPANDED -- In response to public interest, the School Board agreed to expand a summer program that provides free transportation to a local library and once-a-week reading assistance for Manassas Park residents of all ages.

To accommodate the 120 people -- all children -- who have signed up for this summer's Reading Express program, the service will be expanded to three round trips a week, instead of two, to the Prince William Central Library on Mathis Avenue. The program, now in its fourth year, provides residents, especially children, with a way to maintain and improve their reading skills over the summer.

Last year, 70 children participated in the two-day-a week program, which cost about $400 to operate. School officials have not determined how much the expanded program will cost this year.

This summer's program, which will divide the participants into three groups, will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from early July to early August. The children and a teacher/aide will be dropped off at the library at 9:55 a.m. and picked up at 11:30 a.m.