Members of the Pierce City R-6 Board of Education discussed several complaints received over food service portion sizes during the regular meeting on Nov. 28.
Individual board members had received parental complaints that their children are hungry even after eating breakfast or lunch.
"With the new Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, we're seeing portion sizes go down and prices going up," said Superintendent Dr. Aaron Cornman, "but if we change our standards, we lose six cents per tray."
The six cents per tray reimbursement comes from the federal government to school districts in compliance with federally funded food service programs.
The food-based menu provides specific pre-portioned serving sizes for students in students in kindergarten through second grade.
Students in third grade, middle school and high school dish up their own servings of fruits and vegetables.
Students are able to purchase additional menu items at full price to supplement the designed food tray offerings.
"If they don't purchase the extra food items, they're going to be hungry," Cornman said of student athletes who burn more calories than many of the adult teaching staff.
Another concern with the program is students purchasing candy and soda from various fundraising efforts, circumventing the district's wellness guidelines and generating losses for the food program.
"Another problem is the food is not as palatable this year," Cornman continued. "Whole wheat crusts don't have the same flavor as other crusts. As a result, we have a lot more kids bringing their lunch from home and food service program participation is falling off."
"Talk to Opaa! and see if it's a problem statewide," said David Jones, board member.
"You're still restricted by federal guidelines," Cornman cautioned.
"This is a tremendous concern," Jones said. "Local control has been taken away from the school board about what we're going to serve and how we're going to serve it."
In other business, board members:
* Set the time for reorganization of the board of education for 6:30 p.m. on April 10, in the office of the superintendent following the April 2 election.
* Received complimentary comments on how staffers interacted with deaf students from officials with the Missouri School for the Deaf.
* Heard National Honor Society students who did not complete a scheduled trip to a conference in Chicago were trying to get refunds on airline tickets. The fault was a technical difficulty on the part of United Airlines.
* Heard two seniors will need alternative school courses in order to graduate in the spring. Several underclassmen are also in need of alternative school classes.
* Are considering options on resurfacing or replacing the district's track.
* Continue to compile surplus items from the district for a surplus property auction, to be announced.
* Will review the final punch list from L.J. Hart for the middle school and vo-ag greenhouse construction before issuing final payment.