DASD required to serve healthier lunches|
Friday, August 17, 2012
By Josh Woods Staff Writer
DUBOIS - DuBois Area School District students will be required to take a fruit or a vegetable and replace white bread with whole grain products on their lunch tray this year.
Food Service Director Tom Koscienski at last night's school board work session announced new federal guidelines are in place aimed at making school lunches healthier.
Beginning this fall with the 2012-13 school year, each school lunch must consist of five components and one of them must be a fruit or a vegetable, he said.
"The biggest change students are going to see is when they come through the line and get a school lunch for the school lunch, reduced price or for a free meal they have to have three of five components on that tray that we offer every day," said Koscienski. "That student must have a fruit or a vegetable on their tray; it is now a requirement."
Koscienski said, under new federal government regulations, students who do not take a fruit or a vegetable on their tray would be charged extra for each item that's on their tray. However, other items would be availble to students who do not have a fruit or vegetable on their tray for the first few weeks of school.
"We don't want to overcharge the students or the parents," said Koscienski. "We want them to be able to pay what you set as the school lunch price. So, we will have that available to them, and after that it's going to be up to the student."
Students may take two fruits or two vegetables at no extra charge. Koscienski said Metz Culinary Management would offer DuBois students more colors and varieties of veggies, including roasted zucchini and butternut squash.
Many of the grain products offered this year would consist of whole grain, Koscienski said. That includes all bread products. DuBois Area Schools would no longer offer white bread or white rolls, he said, and elementary students are required to have 8-9 ounces of grain, middle school students 8-10 ounces and high school students 10-12 ounces.
"Last year the high school and middle school and even elementary started using whole wheat on their toasted cheese sandwiches, and the kids didn't really notice the change," said Koscienski. "Whole grain products don't look like whole wheat products, so I don't think kids will really notice."
School lunch changes would be posted in the cafeteria, in the lunch line, on menus and in pamphlets that would be sent home with the students. A web page for school dining services would be up and running prior to the start of school. Superintendent Timothy Deluccia said Pennsylvania School Board Association also distributed a policy revision for food allergies.
Koscienski said DASD and Metz may submit menus, spreadsheets and production sheets as part of a verification process. If the district is found to be in compliance with the new regulations it would be eligible for an extra six cents reimbursement per lunch. Koscienski said that would have equated to an extra $26,000 for DASD last year. If the reimbursement process takes place in November, the reimbursement would be retroactive to Oct. 1 rather than the start of school, he said.
The board briefly discussed the district's summer lunch program. Business Manager Sam Kirk Jr. said there has not been a lot of traffic in for summer lunches. Most of the lunches have been sold to those who are involved in football camps, summer school or other programs.
In other business, board member Roland Bechtel asked the board if it would consider authorzing the development of a long range business plan. Bechtel, who is on the school's cafeteria committee, asked if cafeteria employees were paid by Metz or by the school district. Kirk said they are all contractual, district employees.
Superintendent Deluccia commended the district's custodial staff for their work this summer to get each of the buildings ready for the 2012-13 school year. He said initial feedback from the custodial staff is that the newly installed four 10-hour days were a success. The employees were able to accomplish more in a shorter period of time, he said.
"There's a lot of activity going on within the district," said Deluccia. "We accomplished alot not only with our facilities but with our professional development."