NoCal district decides to investigate food portions

Are students receiving their fair share of food? This was a topic broached by board members during Thursday evening’s North Callaway School District meeting.

When it came time to renew the district’s contract with its food services company, Opaa! Food Management, Inc., board members asked the principals present at the meeting how they liked the company’s services.

The principals all agreed that students seemed to enjoy the food, but one issue was a concern — portions. The principals told the board that some students leave the cafeteria hungry, because the set portions aren’t filling enough.

Superintendent Bryan Thomsen said Opaa follows the state requirements set by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Board Vice President Dan McMurtry asked if portion sizes were something the board needed to address. A discussion of food portions and cost to the district ensued. Board members were told students have the option of having seconds or more from the cafeteria if they pay for it. Even the students who are on free or reduced lunch prices must pay full price for seconds. It was a concern to some staff members at the meeting that there are students who may not be able to afford more food although they were still hungry.

“It all comes down to money,” Chris Gilman said, board member.

Gilman said if the board decides to increase portion sizes, it would cost the district more money. All the members agreed it was an issue that should be looked into further. Thomsen said he would do some research and find out what potential costs might be, what options were available and what other districts do about the issue. He added that he had already spoken to an Opaa representative about finding some breakfast items for high school students, since there currently are none available to them.

The board decided not to renew Opaa’s contract until the issue of portion sizes could be discussed further.

The board also noted an anonymous donation that was made to North Callaway High School in the amount of $33,000. Members discussed if it was possible to send a thank you to the donor but were told the person wished to remain anonymous. Instead, Dennis Zerr, board president, thanked the person during the meeting.

“The board would like to thank and recognize the anonymous donor,” Zerr said.

It had been discussed in prior meetings to paint the ductwork in the high school gym. Members discussed the possibility of insulating the ducts instead. The board was told quotes to have the ductwork insulated would be ready by the next meeting.

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