Wednesday, August 17, 2005

District raises school lunch prices

More healthy options added to menu


By MEGAN THOMAS
Express Staff Writer

When the school doors swing open, hungry students will enjoy more menu offerings at a slightly higher cost. The Blaine County School District board of trustees voted Tuesday, Aug. 9, to increase the cost of school meals.

The price increase came with a vote from the board to continue the district's contract with Sodexho America for food service. Sodexho provides food service to all Blaine County schools, runs the Community Campus Internet Café and provides catering services.

The contract renewal prompted the board to increase the price of a school lunch by 25 cents this year. The last price increase was implemented in 2003.

The price for the 2005-2006 school year breakfast remains $1.25 for all students and $1.75 for adults. Elementary students can now buy lunch for $2, Middle school students pay $2.25 and high school students pay $2.50. All adult lunches cost $3.

The price increase comes with an increase in healthy menu options.

"We will have a lot more entrees to offer," said Justin Lanting, director of nutritional service for Blaine County Schools and Sodexho.

This year, Sodexho is revamping breakfast. The offerings debut with free breakfast Aug. 29 to Sept. 9 for all students and parents. The morning meal presents a breakfast buffet with five options, at all schools every morning. Previously, students were limited to two choices.

A number of new entrees will also come with lunch. Middle school students enjoy 11 options and high school students choose from 14 different entrées each day. Elementary students have five lunch offerings three days a week, and four options on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"We have changed many of our menu items to healthy, more nutritious items," Lanting said.

"Healthy" vending machines are now at Wood River Middle School and at the Community Campus, and at Wood River High School. The machines provide alternatives to candy and soda, with options such as yogurt and fresh fruit ranging in price from 50 cents to $3.50.

A Web page that details all of the nutritional values of each menu item at each school is also planned to debut in October in conjunction with the existing district Web site.

"We want to give parents a tool, so maybe they can help influence the choice of entrees," Lanting said.

This year the district will also implement a new charge policy. The policy permits students to charge meals up to three times the lunch price at their school. When a student runs a low or negative account balance, an automated calling system will notify parents via phone the same day. The previous paperwork policy required multiple days to notify parents.

The district offers free and reduced-priced meals for qualifying families. Families must complete the appropriate paperwork to apply, available at all school or the district office.

The breakfast and lunch menus can be found on-line at blaineschools.org by clicking on the nutrition services link.




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