— Changes in the food service program were the topic at Tuesday night's monthly committee meeting of the Wayne Highlands School Board.
A presentation was made by Karen Carlson, who operates the district-wide program.
Superintendent Greg Frigoletto told the board because of changes in the federal school lunch program, it has meant big changes for the district.
He called the food service program at Wayne Highlands one that "is as good as it gets."
Carlson said the new federal regulations imposed requirements in several areas including whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nutrition and more.
She said they have "worked hard" to meet the new standards. Recent inspections resulted in high marks for the district's food program.
Carlson said a new program called Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act was implemented this year and Wayne Highlands has met those standards.
Because of that, the district is reimbursed an extra 6-cents for every lunch served, which has resulted in around $20,000 additional dollars for the district this year.
Carlson said more standards are on the way, including sodium regulations which is coming in the next few years. That, she said, is going to be a difficult obstacle because manufacturers have to meet those goals.
One positive thing which has happened is the United States Department of Agriculture commodities program. Under that program, the USDA purchases excess food from farmers and then gives it to school districts throughout the nation. The local district has to pay for shipping.
Carlson said the district gets between $40,000 and $80,000 in commodities each year.
She did have praise for the federal program, saying they are supplying the food and working with districts in making sure goals are met.
Page 2 of 3 - "They are trying to put their money where their mouths are," said Carlson.
Frigoletto told the board that operating the food service program at the school is quite complicated and involves everything from ordering food to handling personnel.
"There is a science to this," he said.
Board member Lothar Holbert asked Carlson how the new automated system is working for the district.
"I love it," said Carlson. "It cuts the workload down."
She said about 30 percent of the students in the district are using the program. With another 40 percent on free or reduced lunches, she said participation is strong.
Carlson said parents have been very receptive to the program because it adds a layer of convenience by being able to pay for meal via the internet.
The board also discussed the situation with the roof at Preston Area School.
Frigoletto said a local expert did an image scan of the roof and it revealed several places where the insulation is wet.
He told the board members there are two options. One is to do a total roof replacement and the other is to recoat and replace spots where necessary.
Very rough estimates put the cost of replacement at around $883,000 while the cost to repair the roof would be around $500,000.
Though Frigoletto said immediate action is not needed, he is asking the board to approve advertising for bids at the next regular meeting, which is next Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the district office.
In a related matter, the board's annual building and grounds tour will be on March 23. Board members will meet at 8 a.m. at the district office and spend the bulk of the day touring facilities.
Page 3 of 3 - Comprehensive plan
Assistant superintendent Tim Morgan told the board the three-year comprehensive plan is now available for public review.
The plan, which was more than a year in the making, focuses on various aspects of improving the education system.
The top priority, said Morgan, is to have "effective instructional practices."
The second is identifying at-risk students and making sure they get proper instruction.
The report is available for review at the Wayne County Library, at the district office and on the Wayne Highlands website.