New regs changing lunches at school

With the start of school comes a return to school lunches for over 4,000 kids in Warren County.

And, some mandated changes will be coming for school lunches in the Warren County School District this year.

Business Manager Jim Grosch provided the update to the Finance Committee on Monday night.

The first change he mentioned was fruit quantity. “We must now offer up to a cup a day, five per week. To be reimbursed, kids have to take at least half a cup.”

Different pizza crust will also be on the menu.

“All of the grains must be whole grain rich for breakfast and lunch,” he explained. “Nutrition (Inc.) is confident breads and pizza crusts will still be liked. We’ll see. (We have) had issues with different types of crusts.”

Grosch also said that the upcoming school year is the first of ten years slated for sodium reductions.

“Those are the big items that will impact,” Grosch said. “Thankfully, (there is a) nutritionist on staff with Nutrition (to) make sure kids are eating healthy and following guidelines.”

While caffeinated beverages are to only be offered at the district’s high schools, Grosch said he was approached about adding coffee to the breakfast menu and “wanted to try this year.”

“Nine through 12th graders can have it,” he said. “It would be monitored… one creamer and one sugar. The opportunity for this, the offering, (is) still just being kicked around right now.”

Grosch said that Penncrest School District, outside of Meadville, tried it last year and the “kids love it. Teachers love it.” He said that district saw increased revenues and increased breakfast sales as a result of adding coffee.

“That’s something that we wanted to start at Warren Area High School and Youngsville High School,” he added, noting it is “two to three weeks down the road.”

But why just WAHS and YHS?

Grosch said construction concerns and a need for a plan to ensure only 9-12 graders can get coffee in schools that house middle level is an issue to work through.

“Being a nurse, from a health standpoint I find that a bit troubling,” Board member Marcy Morgan said. “I know I like it but should we encourage it?”

Grosch updated the committee on the recently completed Summer Food Program.

Indicating he does not yet have a final report, he said that 4,000 lunches were served in 2013 and that this year 2,675 breakfasts and 6,285 lunches were served “which I think is a fantastic thing for the kids in the community.”

He said he would have a full report next month including the financials but said that he has “no trouble believing it is going to be positive.”