Meal prices could jump in SWCS
Students in the South-Western City Schools District may have to pay more for a school meal.
At the Feb. 28 board meeting, Beth Glitt, head of the food services department, said food sales were down in 2010 compared to 2009. In 2009, sales were $3.2 million. In 2010, sales were down to $2.7 million. Glitt said the decrease was due to a drop in enrollment and the poor economy.
Glitt provided a five-year forecast for the food services department, which is independent and does not rely on the district’s general fund. According to the forecast, by the year 2014, the food services department would have a deficit of $58,000. By 2015, the deficit would grow to $325,000.
Glitt said she may ask the board of education for a price increase for fiscal year 2012/13, but does not yet know how much of an increase. She said a 10 cent increase would provide the department with an additional $82,000 and a 25 cent increase would bring in $206,000 a year.
The last time students/parents saw a food price increase was in 2006 for elementary school students and 2008 for intermediate, middle and high school students.
District Superintendent Bill Wise said the department also has to account for the increase in food prices.
“It’s a crapshoot,” said Wise.
The superintendent said cuts have been made in the food service department as they were suggested by the voluntary performance audit. He said the district has been aggressive to implement the suggestions from the audit.
Glitt said another cause for concern was the need for equipment upgrades.
“Some of the equipment is as old as the school itself,” said Glitt.
Some buildings are over 50 years old.
Glitt said replacing a walk-in freezer would be a major expense because they would have to cut up the floors to install it. Glitt said the employees also notice wear and tear on industrial items such as ovens, warmers and slicers.
The food services department receives federal funds, which Glitt said is secure funding.
Glitt also said the federal government will have new nutritional guidelines for 2013, which would incorporate more whole grains, more fruits and vegetables and less sodium. This would mean chips and candy will not be available a-la carte.
The district has added healthy choices in its vending machines. They have added items like celery sticks and carrots.
“The bottom line is, we want to offer foods that are as healthy as possible,” said Glitt.
The vending machines still stock items like potato chips and candy bars.