School's food service outlined

PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth School Board heard a report on the school corporation’s food service at last night’s meeting.
Gloria Burnam, director of food service, presented an overview of the number of meals being served as well as mandates that will have to be incorporated into the food service with the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The legislation was passed in December, 2010.
Burnam said the National Standards were updated after 15 years and the new compliances will have to be met in the school year 2012-2013.
She said they will have to add 1/2 cup of fruit and 1 ounce of meat daily for breakfast. The lunch fruit and vegetable requirements will count as two components, adding an extra 1/2 to 1 cup serving each day. She indicated that the cost of the fresh produce will add costs to meals provided.
Other requirements in-clude the stipulation that all grain items are whole grain, milk must be 1 percent or fat free, sodium limits reduced over the next 10 years, and no trans fats used.
Burnam also informed the board that beginning July 1, 2011; schools are required to charge students for paid meals that are equal to the difference between free reimbursement and paid reimbursement.
The free reimbursement is currently $2.78 for lunch. The paid reimbursement is 26 cents. This year student lunch prices at the elementary are $1.50 and $1.60 at the secondary level.
Burnam said, “For us to meet this mandate, we are asking to increase meal prices.”
She then recommended an increase of 15 cents ($1.15) for breakfast and an increase of 25 cents ($1.75, elementary and $1.85 secondary)for lunches.
The mandate requires at least a 10 cent raise in prices; however, Burnam asked for the larger increase saying, “Please consider these requests, as we have not increased meal prices for at least 15 years.” She said the cost including food, supplies and labor on average for breakfast is $1.04 and for lunch, $2.29.
Burnam said Plymouth has been among the lowest in the state in terms of meal prices. The board asked that she return next month for consideration of the increases.
She said during the period of August through January of the 2009-10 school year, the schools served 52,960 breakfasts and 286,495 lunches. Those numbers increased during the same months in the current school year to 61,272 breakfasts and 293,283 lunches.
“Actually for Plymouth, there are not a lot of changes since we put in the Wellness policy five years ago,” she said.