Glendale-River Hills to look at healthier lunch options

Prices to increase 10 cents in 2011-12

June 21, 2011

Glendale - The renewal of a school lunch vendor's contract sparked several policy discussions when the Glendale-River Hills School Board took the issue up last week.

Administrators and the board expressed overall satisfaction with Taher, the vendor servicing schools within the North Shore Food Service Consortium that also includes K-8 feeder districts Fox Point-Bayside and Maple Dale-Indian Hill.

School Board member Andrew Franklin praised Taher staff for their professionalism and responsiveness toward district staff members and students.

But board member Jean Pereles-Strouse said the contract renewal would be a good time to examine current food offerings. She questioned whether chocolate and strawberry milk should be offered to students.

"I know we've been greening things up," Pereles-Strouse said, referring to an increase in produce in lunch offerings. "But childhood obesity is an issue that's out there."

Concerns also were raised about vending machines, which are stocked by Taher. Several board members suggested placing healthier options in machines in lieu of traditional snack items.

In addition to taking measures to curtail childhood obesity, Pereles-Strouse said she believed ongoing efforts to provide healthy options were important because a student's overall health impacts their achievement, behavior and concentration.

"It affects our students in the classroom," she said.

District Administrator Larry Smalley said he would forward board members' concerns to Taher officials during discussions this summer.

In the 2011-12 school year, lunch prices are set to increase 10 cents, from $2 to $2.10 per meal for elementary students, from $2.05 to $2.15 per meal for middle school students and from $2.80 to $2.90 for adults.

Taher officials requested the price increase, citing increases in payroll and food costs as well as ongoing maintenance and replacement of food service equipment.

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