Springs School breakfast program could be ready by April

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By Beth Young

Students in the Springs School could be able to have breakfast at school as early as April and may have a hot lunch program by the start of the 2010-2011 school year in September.

The School Board will likely vote this Monday, March 8, on whether to enact the first phase of a three-phase plan to provide food service to its approximately 550 students, who currently eat lunch at their desks.

Last fall, after reading media reports that many children in the Springs School were going hungry, an anonymous donor gave the district $100,000 to implement a food service program.

The first phase will cost the district about $30,000 for refrigerators, freezers, a milk cooler, a cash register, a sink cart and electricity to run those appliances.

For $1.75, children would have their choice of bagels, rolls, granola bars, cereal, fruit, apple packets, fruit juice and milk between 8:10 and 8:30 a.m. Upper grades will be allowed to bring their breakfast to homeroom and first period, while lower grades will eat in the school’s commons.

In addition to the donation, the district will also receive increased federal and state aid if it has a cafeteria, particularly if students who are eligible for free and reduced lunch register and take advantage of that program.

Superintendent Michael Hartner, who came to the school last fall, has long been a proponent of helping the district get on board with food service, in part because the state and federal government gauge the needs of individual school districts by how many students receive reduced price meals.

Mr. Hartner, in a PowerPoint presentation to the School Board on Wednesday, February 24, said that if 190 students take part in the 
breakfast program, it would bring in nearly $56,000 in revenue and would cost $48,000 to run.

A lunch program comprised of cold sandwiches could also be offered this year. Students would pay $2.75 for the full priced lunch. Students who are eligible for reduced price lunches would pay 25 cents each for breakfast and lunch. That program would likely break even, costing the district $104,000 and bringing in roughly the same amount of revenue.

The full service kitchen program, which the district ultimately hopes to implement, would cost $100,000 to set up, and students would likely eat in the commons room in three lunch shifts.

“The idea was Phase 1 would start up this year because it requires no physical alteration to the building,” said School Board President Christopher Kelley. “The decision as to Phase 1 will likely be made at the next board meeting. They’re looking at starting in April, but I don’t know if that’s optimistic. I don’t have a timetable on the rest of it.”

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