At a meeting of the Aberdeen Public Board of Education Monday, board members approved a 10cent increase in the price of meals.
The change affects both breakfast and lunch. Tom Janish, the district’s finance director, said the change means a difference of 3.6 to 4.3 percent, depending on what school level a child is in. The increase is due to federal mandates on nutrition in school meals.
“We knew these changes were coming,” said Aberdeen Public School District Food Service Director Susan Nash. “We just didn’t know how soon or how much would be involved.”
Students will be required to take a serving of fruits or vegetables on their tray before leaving the lunch line. That means there will be an increase in the amount of fruits and vegetables available at lunchtime in Aberdeen public schools.
Students must be offered a set amount of both fruits and vegetables each week.
That amount is determined by grade level, according to materials distributed at the meeting.
“What we’re doing is lots of brainstorming, looking at recipes and developing ways to serve veggies that might not be as popular,” Nash said. Another big change is the introduction of a requirement on wholegrains. At least half of all grains offered during lunchtime must be whole grain rich this year.
This follows the changes seen in the milk cooler over the past few years as whole milk and 2 percent options have been taken out.
Board president Brian Sharp raised concerns about the availability of other options in vending machines. School vending machines will still offer a variety of milk products, including whole milk, Nash said.
“Through all of this, hopefully they’ll make better decisions when it comes to snacking,” Sharp said.
Board member Bob Nikolas asked about accountability and whether students would actually be consuming the increased amounts of fruits and vegetables.
“There’s nothing that says they have to eat it,” he said. Nash said most of the changes will occur with the lunch meal this year and breakfast will be tackled for the 2013-14 school year.
A nutrient analysis is done on each meal offered and things high in fat or sodium content are looked upon negatively. That’s a problem with serving ketchup, a popular condiment that is also high in sodium.
Nash said that if a product was sold separately from the lunch, it would not count in the nutritional assessment. As a result, there are also considerations for charging 10 cents for a serving of ketchup.
“The challenges seem overwhelming, but it’s something that is very doable and it will be good for the kids,” Nash said of the new requirements.
Changes were also introduced at Monday’s meeting regarding employee conduct standards and district accountability models.
A policy about employee usage of social networking websites was approved.
SCHOOL BOARD: Meal prices to rise 10 cents
Students in the Aberdeen Public School District will see some different things as they make their way through the lunch line this fall.