A program is being proposed that would keep a connection between the Butte school district administration and the people it serves: the students.

The “Lunch with the Superintendent” program is simple. Each month, between 12 and 15 students will go out to a local restaurant for lunch with their school principal, Superintendent Judy Jonart and Curriculum Director Jim O’Neill.

The object, O’Neill said, is to stay in touch with the students.

The program is dependent on a $3,000 grant, which the district applied for through the Butte Education Foundation. That money hasn’t been secured as yet. The grant would pay for the lunches for Jonart, O’Neill and the school principal, and students from all nine of the district’s schools as well as the buses to transport the students.

If the entire grant is spent and 15 students plus the three administrators went to every lunch, the total cost per person per meal would be $18.51. That includes money both for food and transportation expenses.

O’Neill said it’s possible that, if secured, not all of the $3,000 would be used.

O’Neill, who moved into the curriculum director position this year after being principal at Margaret Leary Elementary for 12 years, said working at the superintendent’s office means not interacting with kids as much.

“You can kind of lose touch of their needs,” O’Neill said. “This gives us an opportunity to stay in touch, and put our thumb on what’s important.”

O’Neill, who also serves on the Butte Education Foundation board, said Jonart initiated he program, which has been held in the past.

“I have found that sitting around with students over a lunch is a terrific atmosphere to get to know students and for them to get to know me,” Jonart said in an email.

— Reporter Piper Haugan: 496-5572, piper.haugan@mtstandard.com or Twitter.com/Piper_Haugan

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