South Fayette school board nixes federal lunch requirements

Published Jul 22, 2014 at 9:25 pm (Updated Jul 23, 2014 at 1:59 pm)

South Fayette school district lunches will stay the same for 2014-15. The school board voted at its July 22 meeting to approve the recommendation of food service director Tricia Wood to maintain prices and a la carte options due to costs the district would take on from adhering to updated federal requirements regarding sodium, fat and whole grains. 

"I want to take this year to assess and find changes where we can make them," Wood said.

"The (food) manufacturers are still playing catch up on the new standards, and it's costing us. We'll still have healthy options, just not so strict that they cannot have different grains or white bread. We'll still have a vegetarian option and new multi-cultural dishes that many other schools wouldn't even attempt."

Board member Jennifer Iriti asked what would be done to ensure "the intent of the federal lunch program" is met. 

"I just want to have the lunch room complement or help replace healthy eating education classes as is the goal, and for that to be kept in mind," Iriti said. 

Wood responded that throughout the year they'll evaluate smart technology, like phone apps or a computer screen in the lunch room, which would give customized calorie and nutritional information to students based on what they bought for lunch. 

Before the regular agenda, the board heard proposals for new international trips to Spain and France from Spanish teacher Melanie Clonan.

"There would be no cost to the district so we would need to fundraise. The trips would be every other year so kids could have the time needed to raise the $4,000 cost per student," Clonan said.

"We're looking at level two language students who show interest in taking a level three class."

No vote was taken. Clonan said she's working on a proposal to include German language students on a European trip as well, and aiming to start travel in two years. 

In other business, the board voted to buy four additional buses from Laurel Capital Corporation at a price of $328,746. 

The board also voted to approve the dispersal of real estate refunds to district residents after assessment overestimates or errors. 

During discussions of athletics agenda items, board member Teresa Burroughs abstained her vote for a motion that passed for the payment of $9,200 to Southbridge EMS for services at district football and soccer games through 2016.

"Why are basketball and track not on here?" she asked the board.

 "Sometimes there is just as much contact, and last year, someone had a heart attack at a visiting site. These are sometimes life or death matters."

Council president Len Fornella said he would investigate to ensure the teams have medical assistance on the sidelines. 

Board member Alan Vezzi was absent. 

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