By DEBORAH GERTZ HUSAR
Herald-Whig Staff Writer
PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- The Pikeland School Board wants athletes to continue to self-fund the district's sports programs.
Board members Wednesday asked the athletic program to "self-fund" by raising $45,000 in the 2014-15 school year -- the same amount sought for 2013-14.
Superintendent Paula Hawley said the program will raise close to $30,000 this year, falling short because a planned fundraising game could not be scheduled at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
But the need for self-funding and the $45,000 goal remain because "the financial picture will not be any better and probably will be worse," Hawley said.
District officials will take a look at possible changes in the main fundraiser for the sports programs, a raffle promising big-dollar prizes.
Board member Mike Gerard proposed awarding a certain percentage of ticket sales as prizes instead of a specific dollar amount, to avoid eating into profits if ticket sales are low.
But Pittsfield High School Principal Angie Greger said part of the raffle's appeal is the chance to win $10,000 in return for buying a $20 ticket. Another alternative could be a "tiered" plan promising a minimum prize award which could grow with increased ticket sales -- or changing the ticket price.
"We need to look at it," Hawley said.
Also important, Greger said, will be finding more avenues for students to sell more raffle tickets beyond just to immediate family members.
Also Wednesday, board members agreed to boost the lunch fee by 10 cents to $2.10 for students and $2.35 for adults for 2014-15.
Hawley said the increase was needed to bring the district closer to the federal $2.59 target price tied to paid lunch equity requirements.
Districts can't use reimbursement for free and reduced-price lunches to offset the price of paid lunches, so "we're required to raise the lunch prices 10 cents (per year) until we get to the required price, and we can't increase more than 10 cents a year," Hawley said. "We don't want to increase any more than we have to."