Pen­nridge re­views Nutri­onal Ser­vices rev­enue, chang­ing reg­u­la­tions

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - OPINION - By Meghan Ross

“There have been no changes to the na­tional school lunch pro­gram in 15 years,” Di­rec­tor of Nu­tri­tional Ser­vices Gina Giar­ratana said at Pen­nULGJH 6FKool BoDUG’s finDnFH com­mit­tee meet­ing Tues­day, Nov. 13.

This year, how­ever, dras­tic changes were made to the dis­trict’s lunches due to the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, cham­pi­oned by fiUsW lDGy 0LFKHllH 2bDPD and the USDA.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act was de­signed to com­bat child­hood obe­sity. The new fed­eral reg­u­la­tions be­gan in July of this year.

Some of these reg­u­la­tions in­clude an in­crease in fruit and veg­etable serv­ings in sSHFL­fiF sub­JUouSs, suFK Ds beans or orange veg­eta­bles or leafy greens. Also, 50 per­cent of grains must be whole grain, and students must take a fruit or veg­etable with their lunch for it to count as a re­im­bursable meal.

Two high school students were present at Tues­day’s PHHWLnJ. 2nH sDLG KH sDw some students tak­ing the manda­tory fruit or veg­etable and throw­ing it away. The other said students were eat­ing more fruit than they used to.

“They are re­ally en­cour­aged to make healthy choices,” Giar­ratana said.

There are also calo­rie re­stric­tions, which have a min­i­mum and max­i­mum limit.

“This is the most chal­leng­ing por­tion of this act for me as the menu plan­ner,” Giar­ratana said.

Next year, there will be added reg­u­la­tions. For ex­am­ple, all grains must be 100 per­cent whole grain. Gi- ar­ratana said al­most all the grains pro­vided at lunches now were whole grain, but pizza crusts next year will be a chal­lenge.

There will also be sodium re­stric­tions, and break­fast reg­u­la­tions will be­gin. This year, the act only af­fects lunches.

7KH finDnFLDl LPSDFW oI HHFKA means pro­jected lunch food costs may in­crease by 0.28 per­cent per meal. Break­fast food costs may in­crease 0.14 per­cent per meal next year, as well.

For the 2013-14 year, Nu­tri­tional Ser­vices is propos­ing a 10 cent lunch in­crease; there will be no break­fast in­crease.

There have been no price LnFUHDsHs Ln WKH SDsW fiYH years, ac­cord­ing to Giar­ratana.

In 2012, there was a loss in Nu­tri­tional Ser­vices’ rev­enue of $101,515 in the el- emen­tary schools, but there were gains in the mid­dle and high schools at $49,079 and $161,141, re­spec­tively, ac­cord­ing to Giar­ratana. The nHW SUofiW IoU WKH 1uWULWLonDl Ser­vices depart­ment this year is $93,059.

This amount is lower than other years, ac­cord­ing to Giar­ratana. In the 2010-11 yHDU, SUofiWs wHUH DUounG $200,000 and the year be­fore that $166,000. The deFUHDsH Ln WKH nHW SUofiW WKLs year was due to a de­crease in sales, an in­crease in food costs and a $63,000 in­crease in la­bor costs.

Giar­ratana said Nu­tri­tional Ser­vices was try­ing to look into ways to re­duce costs. For ex­am­ple, the dis­trict had been us­ing a food ven­dor that sold cases of ap­ples for $43 at 43 cents per ap­ple, but the Nu­tri­tional Ser­vices depart­ment found ap­ples from a lo­cal farmer who sold cases of ap­ples for $32, at 32 cents per ap­ple.

The reg­u­la­tions and pos­si­bly eco­nomic fac­tors have led to some de­creases in meals, ac­cord­ing to Giar­ratana.

This Septem­ber, there were 8,358 fewer meals pur­chased than in 2011. That nuPbHU wDs UHGuFHG Ln 2Fto­ber, how­ever, when there were 3,085 meals fewer than in 2011.

Break­fast meals, on the other hand, have in­creased by 1,365 in 2012. Giar­ratana said this may be be­cause there are no reg­u­la­tions af­fect­ing break­fast foods.

Giar­ratana said there will be a need for equip­ment re­place­ments in the next three Wo fiYH yHDUs. 7KLs PDy FosW $150,000 to $175,000.

Also at Tues­day’s meetLnJ, WKH finDnFH FoPPLWWHH rec­om­mended sev­eral con­tracts to be voted on by the full board, in­clud­ing a con- tract with Car­bon-Le­high In­ter­me­di­ate Unit for a Pow­erS­chool host­ing site.

Pow­erS­chool, a web-based stu­dent in­for­ma­tion sys­tem IUoP 3HDU­son, “sLPSlL­fiHs data-driven de­ci­sion mak­ing by pro­vid­ing real-time in­for­ma­tion to all stake­hold­ers — over the In­ter­net,” ac­cord­ing to the Car­bon-Le­high IU web­site. The web­site also states, “Teach­ers gain time­sav­ing ad­min­is­tra­tive tools, par­ents gain im­me­di­ate ac­cess to their chil­dren’s grades and students can track their own progress.”

Cur­rently, the dis­trict pays $50,000 per year to han­dle this in-house, but the con­tract with Car­bon-Leigh means the dis­trict will pay around $85,000. The con­tract, how­ever, means un­lim­ited sup­port with a group that knows the soft­ware pro­gram “in and out,” ac­cord­ing to Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tor Kathy John­son.

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