Food services will improve under new plan, officials say
Although contracting out nutrition services appears it would free up money for the school district to funnel into the classroom, some parents remain skeptical.
“If these kids don’t eat the food they’re given, it’s wasted,” said parent Tina Galhaut. “If we give them really crappy food, they’re not going to pay attention.”
Carson City School District officials presented a plan during Tuesday’s board meeting to hire a food management company rather than manage that department in-house.
Concerned parents spoke out against the plan, and board members were presented petitions signed by other opponents.
Superintendent Richard Stokes said the changes would be more beneficial.
He assured staff members they would keep their jobs.
“Our staff has a great track record of sanitation,” he said. “We’re appreciative of what they do for us.”
The true goal, he said, would be to improve the quality of the food to increase participation in the program, thereby increasing revenue. The district has budgeted up to $700,000 annually from the general fund to cover costs.
“There’s really a lot of choices here,” he said. “Not just one or two entrees.”
He clarified that food would continue to be prepared in the kitchens at the school sites, rather than pre-packaged items warmed up before serving as some had believed. He and Nutrition Services Manager Bonnie Eastwood and Operations Director Mark Korinek traveled to schools in nearby states of similar size to observe different food service companies.
Eastwood said she was impressed by what she saw.
“I’m totally excited,” she said. “I’m elated.”
Trustee Lynnette Conrad said she has eaten at the school with her child, and the quality of food has concerned her as a board member, physician’s assistant and mom.
“I don’t feel like the food right now is good,” she said.
Trustee James Lemaire agreed, making a commitment to improving selection.
“I won’t vote for anything I don’t feel is an improvement in freshness and less processed food,” he said.
After listening to the presentation, mother Sarah Marschall said she appreciated all the district had done to improve services, but she wanted to see more organic and sustainable choices.
“This is a step in the right direction, but it’s just not enough,” she said. “I think we could be visionary.”
Mary Works, a school district parent, said students need to be given more time to eat and more opportunities to exercise.
“We’re looking at a nation with many, many ills,” she said. “These kids really need our help.”
Conrad said the food service company would provide free curriculum to educate students about healthy eating.
Also at the meeting
• The board renewed the charter for the Carson City Montessori Charter School.