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Tri-County News
Kimball, Minnesota
October 2, 2003     Tri-County News
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October 2, 2003

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District 739 00;,:hool Board changes lunch policy to benefit (continued from page 1) stu: dents who do not have "enough money in their lunch account will be given a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (at no cost) instead of hot lunch until they have enough money in their ac- count." Also according to the policy, children in preschool, K- 3, or with special needs cannot be denied a meal, which was defined as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a milk. Neither Thielman nor Taher food service coordinator Sharon Lommel seemed to know how the tray dumping originated. "I'm not sure if this was something that the past school board came up with - I really don't know the reasoning be- hind it," Clark said. Lommel, who has worked in ,food service for 11 yeats said the policy was in effect before she, Thielman, or Clark arrived. Clark explained that the computer containing the meal account database "dings" when students are 5-meals away from depleting their accounts. The "ding" reminds Garding or other workers to stamp the hands of these students. The hope is that parents will notice the stamps and put money into their child's account. "Parents like the stamps," Garding said. "At least those that I have talked to. Even if they are blurry at the end of the day parents know what it means." According to the policy, "at least one advance written warn- ing must be given to students and parents prior to refusal to allow additional meals." But Clark said this hadn't been hap- pening. Food for thought Thielman raised Clark's food service policy concerns for dis- cussion at the Sept. 18 school board meeting. The board agreed to review the policy and made some headway. The board revised the policy's definition of "meal" as applied to students with special needs, in preschool, or grades K-3. The board decided hence forward, these students will receive a hot lunch - regardless of meal ac- count status. Thus tray disposal was eliminated for students Thielen identified as "more vul- nerable." But Clark's issue extended to all students at KES, not only the most vulnerable. "A big concem of mine is stu- dent serf-image," he said. "This will affect students differently depending on their ages." Kimball Area High School Guidance Counselor Dick Grommesh corroborated Clark's concern. "I have not seen what goes on, and without being there it is hard to say what is best, but cer- tainly [tray disposal] would af- fect students, some more strongly than others - depend- Server Kris Opitz-Rudolph (center) and head cook Diane Garding punch in student lid numbers to deduct meal fees from lunch accounts. ing on the student and the situ- ation. "In general I think it [the food service policy] could be changed to make sure proce- dures that don't promote such things. If teachers are con- cerned I would see if there was a better way to do it." Lommel explained that per week, only about five or six stu- dents out of 300 have their trays dumped. "If there is a little guy that can't eat, one (student) is too many," Clark said. Another concem for Clark is the loss of perfectly edible food. "If you take away the trays you can't reuse them anyway, its just a waste," he said. Ir. response to the increased concern of school boc_rd mem- bers and teachers, Thielman and Lommel decided Friday, Sept. 26 that teachers will be notified via e-mail an hour be- fore lunch which students will have peanut butter and jelly be- cause of insufficient funds. "The food service office will print up a slip so they [students] know to get their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches," Lommel said. Clark said he hopes this will eliminate removing trays from kids. Clark said the school is also going to enforce the "at least one advance written warning" clause of the policy, so students and parents have more time to put money into lunch accounts. Be involved parents Lommel said it's very rare for students to be without money in their accounts because most parents are very responsible and get their checks in on time. But because parents have different ways of allocating funds to student lunch ac- counts, there isn't just one way to regulate student spending, but there are several ways par- ents can tion ( 1. Monitor Parents tain child's meal may not able to and lunch add up gested child has count funds office. information. 2. Check Although returns servers receive a This blurry time to put meal 3. Inspect As of dents will be parents their meal younger load all the backpacks, ents inc inspect "The ideal every child said. the tray." It's here! ..... il ! !:  )i  i  /: This is the stamp students receive to remind parents that their meal accounts are low. 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