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Triton School Board gets Update on Food Services Program

February 15, 2011

02/16/11 The Triton School Board heard a lunch service report during their regular meeting on February 14 from Peggy Patrick.

Patrick apprised the board members on a number of items that will be altering the food services at the schools within the next few months including equipment concerns, raising meal prices for students, and altering food items.

Patrick said the Triton Elementary kitchen has had extensive repairs on one of the warmer/refrigerator units this year and they have also replaced the store room upright freezer. She said, “” We have two pass through warmer/refrigerator units, one refrigerator/freezer unit, one walk-in freezer and one walk-in cooler, plus the dishwasher that are all 22 years old.” Patrick told a similar story about the equipment at the high school. She said,”The majority of the kitchen equipment is 40 plus years old.” She said, “We purchased a new steamer 10 years ago and also two new Rational Ovens two years ago. Our walk-in freezer and cooler are the original which are 40 years old.”

She added, “Due to the age of equipment replacements might be needed in the future.”

Patrick said the main concern for the elementary food service in the past was that students did not have enough time to eat. She said they installed two new self/serve lines and added another cashier station. She said, “This has been a tremendous success.” Although there were added lines, they we are able to utilize the employees already in place and did not have to hire any extra help.

Patrick said the goal at the high school level is to have the students fed in ten minutes.

Due to the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act by the United States House of Representatives in December of 2010, schools will soon be equalizing meal prices. Patrick explained that the programs will be required to move towards charging paid meal category students at a price that is on average equal to the difference between free meal reimbursements and paid meal reimbursements. She said, “The difference between our $1.40 lunch meal and the reimbursement price of $2.72 is $1.32.” The additional price increases will also affect the breakfast program. Increases can be made in increments over a number of years.

Superintendent Carl Hilling suggested that Patrick come back to the board at another meeting to consider at what rate they will be increasing the meal prices.

Patrick also spoke of the changes that may be taking place in the amount of fruits and vegetables that they serve. She said they may also be regulated as to the type of fruits and vegetables they serve. Patrick said the amount of starchy vegetables (white potatoes, corn and peas) would be limited to one cup per week.

She said, “We would no longer be allowed to serve whole or 2 percent milk. We can serve skim milk and 1 percent milk.” She added that even though strawberry and chocolate milk are only 1 percent, they could only offer them as fat free.

Other considerations concerned the serving of whole grains products and reducing sodium levels.

She touched on the procedures for allergy precaution and awareness. Patrick said, “Both the elementary and the high school keep accurate carbohydrate counts for all food items for students who are diabetic and need to record their carb intake.”

She said they averaged 92 student breakfast meals and 424 student lunch meals plus six adult regular meals, 20 adult salad bar meals and 15 adult potato bar meals at the elementary building in January of this year. In October, 2010, at the high school, they averaged 46 breakfast meals and 355 reimbursable student lunch meals. There were also 45 second lunches for student each day. They served an average of eight regular meals per day to adults.

She concluded saying, “Both the elementary and high school cafeteria budgets are still doing very well, although with the proposed meal pattern changes we will have major increases in food costs for both the high school and elementary school. “Jami (McIntyre) and I are very thankful to be working in a positive environment with dedicated employees who are willing to do whatever is asked of them.” “Triton School Corporation has two separate kitchens, but we work as one team.” Patrick said.

In other matters, the board voted unanimously to hire Michael Eiser as a Destination ImagiNation coach for the 2010-2011 school year. Layne Leeper was also hired by unanimous vote as the maintenance worker. Superintendent Hilling said there were 34 applications for the maintenance position and Leeper was their top choice.

Triton Elementary Principal Jeremy Riffle outlined a new program called Peru Academic Monitoring Package that will allow them to access data on each student at one point. He said, “At any given time, we have to go to four or five places now.” He said by having one access point, they will be able to work at data driven instruction.

Riffle said they joined nine other school in a consortium on the program that is owned by the Peru School Corporation. The board voted 5-0 to enter into the program that will cost $4,500 the first year and $4, 000 the second year. Hilling said the fees would be paid for through the Common School Technology Loan.

The board also approved allowing Hoosier Driving Academy to provide driver education classes during the upcoming summer. Spring classes may also be offered to accommodate all students eligible to participate. The cost to each student will be $395.00.

Carol Anders Correspondent