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Pierce City R-6 board hears new food program plan

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Members of the Pierce City R-6 School board heard of new nutrition requirements for students as announced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Corinne O'Hara, director of the district's food service program, reported new funding for the federal meal program and the district's responsibilities to ensure reimbursement for those meals.

The program sets basic standards for the district, including a push for more fruits and vegetables consumed by students.

"We want to stop feeding the trash cans," O'Hara said. "We are moving more toward an 'offer' versus 'serve' option at meal time. Students will pick what they want to eat rather than being served a meal and it going into the trash.

"Students will have more choices of fruits and vegetables," O'Hara continued. "It's going to cost more to do it this way. There will have to be three kinds of fruit and three kinds of vegetables per meal. It will be trial and error to figure out what kids like or don't like."

Other changes in the program include caloric intake requirements for elementary, middle and high school students.

"We're breaking it down so students understand it better," O'Hara said. "There will be a chart posted listing each component of the meal for comparison."

The components include meat or meat alternatives, grains, fruits, vegetables and milk.

In order to receive federal reimbursement for the school lunch program, the district will have to adhere to the new regulations concerning fruits and vegetables.

Students must have at least one half cup of a fruit or vegetable each day. Choices will incorporate dark greens, red, orange, beans and peas and starchy vegetables, the daily minimum of meat or meat alternative, whole grain items and milk.

The reduction in calories will limit the amount of baked desserts the district can offer, but whole grain breads and rolls will continue to be placed on the menu.

Pierce City R-6 District utilizes Opaa! food service program, which will work to meet the daily meal requirements while providing appealing meals to students.

"Districts not using Opaa! Are totally unprepared for these changes," O'Hara said. "Schools signed up to participate in the program will be audited to ensure they are using the correct size of spoons and cups per portion. If you don't have what you're supposed to, they will get you on the audit."

Cooks will also be required to fill out production records for each day.

Gate passes for athletic events for the 2012-13 academic year are $4 for adults and $2 for students at varsity games, $2 for adults and $1 for students at junior varsity and junior high games $25 for student season pass, $50 for adult single pass, and $125 for family pass.

School officials are gearing up for a walk-through of the newly constructed middle school and vo-ag facilities. This will allow for a last minute inspection of the buildings before the construction crews are released from their contracts. The punch list of uncompleted contract items will have to be completed in order for the contractor to receive final payment.

In final business, the board set the tax rate hearing for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 22 in the office of the superintendent.

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