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South Windsor Schools' Food Service Department Sees Significant Losses

Smaller portions, increase in fruits and vegetables results in 21 percent decline in food sales.

South Windsor Board of Education. Photo Credit: Ted Glanzer
South Windsor Board of Education. Photo Credit: Ted Glanzer
Due to changes in federal law, the South Windsor school district’s Food Service Department has seen a significant decline in sales and a loss in revenue, according to a school official.

Director of Finance and Operations Chris Chemerka said at the May 28 Board of Education meeting that there has been a 21 percent decline in sales this year.

In a memorandum to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kate Carter, Chemerka said that, as a result of the losses, the Food Services Department would not be able to make a $160,000 health care contribution for its employees that was budgeted for this year.

“[I]t would create a negative balance in the account,” Chemerka wrote. In prior years, the Food Service Department would provide such a contribution.

But Chemerka said that “significant losses were incurred September through December [2012].”

In January through March 2013, the department showed a reduction in losses, including two months of profits, according to Chemerka. However, there was another “significant” loss in April.

At the May 14 school board meeting, Director of Food Services Marianne Lopez said that there were numerous challenges that the program faced, including changes to the menu plan that resulted in a reduction in participation.

“Students used to home and restaurant portions noted the smaller portions served” in schools, as well as foods that were not commonly included in their diet, according to Lopez.

In addition, fruit and vegetable costs increased, while the schools were required to add portions to their menus.

All of which conspired to result in the loss in revenue, Lopez said.

Chemerka said that the school district realized early in the school year that this would be a problem, and took several steps to mitigate the loss, including rescinding the offer to provide Food Service Programming to the CREC International Magnet School for Global Citizenship, so the district could focus on its internal needs.

Going forward, Chemerka said that the district would continue to find ways “to increase sales and examine means to reduce costs.”

Chemerka also recommended contracting with an outside food service company to review the South Windsor school district’s Food Service Department.

“The scope of this review would be to provide feedback and recommendations to enhance participation and boost revenues while keeping expenses down,” she said.
Vinny June 03, 2013 at 09:03 AM
What they should do is take a survey of the children that would eat the lunch. They would find that the food had change and the children will not eat it. The food service also set up new pricing for the children and parents. If you get an extra apple or fruit they get charged more. The new program is a failure, you what children to eat lunch not go by some guild line that the feds say is good
Christal June 03, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Lunches are much healthier now- as teachers, sometimes we even buy lunch!
Vinny June 07, 2013 at 08:19 PM
You say that they much more healthier now, but the truth is that the more food ends up in the garbage can. It make the program looks look when in reality it is failing. All you have to do is go to their lunch and see what is thrown out. When did Michelle Obama become an expert on school lunch programs.
Vinny June 07, 2013 at 08:30 PM
It should say more food ends up in the garbage can. Makes the program looks good but in reality it failing. Sorry should have proof read before posting the comment. My mistake.

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