Food service savings reported for YUHSD
The Yuma Union High School District governing board received an update on Student Nutrition Services during a meeting Wednesday in regards to the program's profits and changes for next year.
Student Nutrition Services director Charlene Story explained that after getting rid of food management companies and changing their food services to in-house operations, they have seen great savings.
So far this year, they have seen $387,725 in savings from lunch reimbursements, she said. Story added that they served 5,413 breakfasts per day in the district last month as well as 7,212 lunches per day with a federal reimbursement of $452,000.
Students at three high schools pay $2.25 for lunches or 40 cents for reduced-price lunches. Students at Yuma, Kofa and San Luis high schools eat for free under the Provision 2 program, and all students districtwide eat breakfast for free. Teachers also pay $3 for lunch and $1 for breakfast, Story said, noting that the prices are set by federal regulation.
Story said their department has spent $3.6 million on labor and benefits for staff, food, paper and commodities as of the first of March. Labor and benefits were not previously offered to cafeteria staff with prior food management companies. For next year, she said, she's working on purchasing 170,000 pounds of meat products from companies like Tyson and Jennie-O.
“Tyson assured me that the finely textured beef product affectionately known as pink slime doesn't get anywhere near our product.”
Story also has set aside $50,000 for produce for student lunches next year. “I'm hoping we can bring in all kinds of new fruits and vegetables as we can afford them.”
In line with incoming regulations, she commented, next year they are doing away with analyzing the nutritional content of meals. Now it's back to component meals that consist of one grain; one meat or a meat alternate like beans, eggs and cheese; a fruit; a vegetable; and a milk.
“Students have to choose three of those five items for it to be considered a reimbursable meal.”
Story said she is getting ready to attend various trainings to learn more about implementing the new regulations.
She noted she would also like to hire a district chef for next year to not only work with student workers and staff to teach them about cooking from scratch, but also to work with students in district culinary arts classes.
Currently the district has 57 student workers in the cafeteria, freeing up kitchen staff to spend more time on creating new and inventive meals for kids. They also have three former students working on staff and plan to hire three more current students after they graduate this year.
“We treat these students as though they are adult workers. We want to give them the chance to start on the right path,” Story said.
Sarah Womer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.