The Bell County Board of Education held a special-called meeting this week.
The meeting was a public forum to discuss school nutrition and physical activity.
Guidelines placed on their food service department by the National School Lunch Program and the federal regulations that apply were addressed by Food Service Director Tina Tipton.
“They are decreasing the amount of sodium each year that we can use in preparation of breakfast and lunch and we are fighting to keep the restriction from going down anymore.” said Tipton. “The guidelines are stringent to say the least. It is very hard to prepare processed food that the kids want to eat without salt.”
The USDA will be voting again soon on these regulations and Tipton hopes that further sodium decreases can be halted.
Tipton also addressed the school systems dairy contract, recommending Prairie Farms over Bordon Dairy.
Due to new guidelines, would be suppliers must bid on all dairy products including ice cream. A representative from Bordon Dairy was on hand and stated the new guidelines would exclude them in future years from bidding on the contract because they do not provide ice cream. The board voted in favor of Prairie Farms.
In other business, the state funding contract for the district’s seven Family Resource and Youth Services Centers was approved. The amount of funding offered is based on the number of students eligible for free and reduced lunches.
Even though all lunches are free in the schools it is important to ensure this funding that parents fill out and return the income form being mailed out to them. Any information provided on the form is kept confidential.
“It is so important that we get these income verification forms back in from parents,” said Chris Warren Director of People Personnel for the Bell County Board of Education. “All of our kids eat free, but it is the percentage that would eat free or at reduced price that determines this funding.
Superintendent Yvonne Gilliam added, “All of our funding is based on the number of students that qualify for free or reduced lunch. The money we lose when those forms don’t come in is money we could have spent on the children.”
The forms have been sent out and the board plans to send them again mid-summer.
Student Health Services contracting was discussed and representatives from Family Health Care and Bell County Health Department were heard. No decision was made and the issue was tabled.
The board will have another special called meeting July 2 at 5 p.m. to further discuss the two contract bids.
Reach William Tribell at (606) 302-9100 or on Twitter @wtribellmdn