APS employees to get more for meals

ALPENA — Alpena Public Schools will have new travel meal reimbursement rates for all district employees.

Superintendent John VanWagoner said during Wednesday’s district Board of Education Finance Committee meeting that the district’s current reimbursement rates are old and have to be updated.

“People are going on things and the reimbursement that we have for food hasn’t been updated in quite a long time, and people are just honestly not able to eat on what we give,” VanWagoner said. “If they do, it’s probably fast food, at best.”

The new in-state rates will be $8.50 for breakfast and lunch and $19 for dinner. Those figures are the standard for schools statewide, VanWagoner said.

“The state puts time and effort into finding what appropriate costs are,” VanWagoner said. “I think it’s fair to our people and especially people who do want to eat healthy, they can’t do it for what we’re reimbursing them now.”

The rates for out-of-state are $10.25 for breakfast and lunch and $23.50 for dinner.

Changing the reimbursement rates is an administrative policy, so VanWagoner doesn’t need approval from the board when making the change.

“I just wanted it to bring it forth to the board in case there were any thoughts on if that was out of whack, it’s just for transparency’s sake,” he said.

Some meals are paid for through grant money, but VanWagoner said the district needs a guideline for all employees to follow.

Employees who also travel for events as part of the district’s programs through a state Marshall Plan for Talent grant will be reimbursed for meals. Alpena, Alcona Community Schools, Hillman Community Schools, Atlanta Community Schools, and the Alpena-Montmorency-Alcona Educational Service District were awarded over $1.9 million in December to help build students to be career- and college-ready when graduating high school. Part of that grant is for employees to travel to achieve skills to help students receive certifications.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.