By Dedra Cordle
In 2012, the South-Western City Schools District began using an online portal called Infinite Campus which allows parents to pay fees, access their child’s academic reports and class schedules and make real-time adjustments to contact information and medical information.
The parental feedback on the online tool was overwhelmingly positive, said district officials, but the one complaint they kept hearing was the absence of the food service department in the Infinite Campus.
“They had wanted seamless and universal access to the system,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise at the Jan. 27 board of education meeting.
In February of 2019, it was announced that the food service department would begin the transition to the Infinite Campus at the start of the 2019-2020 school year barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Fortunately, said district officials, there were no unforeseen circumstances and the transition was completed in August.
“The transition to the Infinite Campus was a huge project for the food service department,” said supervisor Lisa Hamrick at the meeting, “and overall it couldn’t have gone any better.”
Using the online portal, parents will be able to notify the district and department of food allergies, monitor what their child is eating, and check and pay balances.
Hamrick said if there are low or negative balances, the portal will notify the parent via automatic messaging or phone rather than the head cook at the school.
“We wanted to take that call out of the kitchen,” said Hamrick. “We want our head cooks to focus on serving students and not on that aspect.”
Board member Lee Schreiner asked about the department policy should a child have a negative balance.
“We always feed them a meal,” she said. “We don’t shame our students here.”
Schreiner said he was glad to hear that the students received a full meal rather than a modified meal, like a sole peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
“I think we all want our students to be at their best and in order for them to do so they have to have food in their bellies,” he said.
During further discussion on the food service department, board member David Donofrio inquired about a recent federal proposal to scale back school nutrition guidelines set forth in 2012.
“Do you anticipate any major impact on the department?” he asked.
Hamrick said she has not had the time to go over the entire proposal but said she does not anticipate the department will make any changes at this time.
In related news, Hamrick said the department serves 6,900 daily breakfasts and 13,400 daily lunches. She added that East Franklin Elementary School recently began to participate in the breakfast-in-the-classroom program, which brings the total number of elementary schools involved in the program to eight.
The board of education also heard from transportation supervisor Tim Cox at the meeting. According to Cox, their fleet of more than 200 buses are in good shape and safety inspections are currently under way. He said he expects all of the buses to be inspected by the end of June 2020.