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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cookies and ice cream in school a source of revenue

Ban on sweet treats would cost $60k
By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— Cookies and ice cream will remain on the menu at city schools.
In order to protect the revenue generated by the sale of sweets, the Board of Education has again voted to reject participating in the state’s healthy choice program.
Board of Education Chairman David Hourigan, D-4, said the school cafeteria already offers a healthy selection of foods.
The state program would give the town 10 cents per meal, which could result in about $60,000 in revenue for the food services division. The catch is that the school system would have to pledge not to sell cookies or ice cream in school cafeterias. Those items are sold al la carte at a higher price, and provide revenue for the self-sustaining food services division.
Hourigan said the board believes the district would lose more than $60,000 if cookies and ice cream were banned. There were also concerns that a ban would hurt booster clubs and parent groups that rely on in-school bake sales as fundraisers.
Hourigan noted that the school may soon have no choice but to participate in the state program. The General Assembly may mandate that all schools join the program.
Superintendent of Schools Harvey B. Polansky recently told the PTA Council that there may be legislation banning candy fundraisers during the school day. He advised parents to explore alterative fundraisers.
“While I am not anticipating the legislation to affect the 2008-09 school year, it is my understanding that such legislation is imminent,” Polansky said.
Pre-planned events like football and basketball would be exempt. Polansky said parents and boosters should consider new fundraising activities if candy sales are prohibited.
One hundred out of 169 communities now accept the additional 10 cents per meal from the state.
Polansky joked that if the legislation is approved, students will have to “eat Yodels under the table.”
“Will police dogs come in and sniff for candy?” quipped PTA Council member Michael Taylor.
Amity Superintendent of Schools John Brady said Amity has been participating in the healthy choice initiative for two years now.
“Initially, it was difficult to get rid of the soda and candy,” Brady said. “We’ve worked through it all and have not heard a complaint from the students. The meals are healthier.”


Anonymous PTA Parent said...

This article says, "The state program would give the town 10 cents per meal, which could result in about $60,000 in revenue for the food services division. The catch is that the school system would have to pledge not to sell cookies or ice cream in school cafeterias."

Before everyone starts to criticize the BOE for passing up money I would like to point out one misnomer in this article. The $60,000 would not go to the town or schools system at all. It would go directly to the self-sustaining food service program which does not and CANNOT receive any funding from the local board of education. Food service gets to keep its small annual profit all to itself. No funds can pass between the BOE and food service to offset anything. As a PTA parent, all the different parent groups in town do raise alot of money for our schools and provide many things they would not otherwise be able to afford. Candy is a quick and easy seller. As a parent I think food service does a great job providing a healthy meal for students. I also think there is nothing wrong with my children having cookies, a candy bar or ice cream once in a while.

March 19, 2008 at 1:09 PM 
Anonymous Mark L - Parent said...

Agree. But I would limit what the school would like to serve as sweets. I do believe that when you mean "Candy Bar", you are talking about the fund raiser candy. Correct? I would not advocate the school selling candy. Cookies and ice cream are fine in moderation. One point from a parent that has eaten many a meal in the School Caf. is that the somekid's throw their entire hot lunch away and then proceed to the cookies, etc. one suggestion would be that the trash bin be near the sweets and as kid's dump food the school nutrition person says Yes or No to sweets depending on how much they throw away. At home their is no desert if no dinner is eaten. Let's do the same at school.
Besides this issue, sweets are fine in school, but with limits

March 20, 2008 at 7:41 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Mark _
The Milford School System is not a paid babysitting program. A school nutrition person should not need to stand infront of the garbage and say Yes or No to a candy bar. I believe this individual can use their talents in a better way. Also, how much money will it cost to have a garbage guard in each school? - Finally, if the garbage guard said no some spoiled child would run home crying and the city would be sued.

March 20, 2008 at 8:52 AM 
Anonymous Mark l. - Parent said...

Dear No Name,

There is a person known as the "Lunch" Lady" that stands at the Ice cream & Treats table and hands out desert daily, I would imagine it is not too much trouble or adds any cost to simply place the trash receptacle near her and by using her "eyes" can easily watch an entire lunch dumped. If they want to cry to Mommy or Daddy, fine. But what lessons are we teaching about nutrition and the food pyrimid if we allow goodies without nutritious foods to go with it. Let's also consider that if the only food digested by a child at lunch is "sugar" (which as I stated I am not opposed to) then one can imagine the affect the "sugar" only diet will have on this child in the classroom. Can you say "sugar-high". Stop playing the permissive parent. Every thing in a school needs to be lessoned based.

March 20, 2008 at 9:57 AM 
Anonymous pta parent said...

Yes, when I said candy bar I meant a fundraising candy bar or the occasion I might buy my children a candy bar myself. I agree 100% that school lunch rooms should not be selling candy ... and they do not in Milford! Let's be clear on that before someone goes off on a tangent. As I said I think our food services does do a decent job of providing healthy meals. The comment you make about kids throwing it away and going for the sweets is a testament to the challenge food service personnel face in getting kids to eat what's good for them! I also think in our school the linch aids do try to get kids to eat their meals, but they cannot prohibit a child from throwing the whole thing away and purchasing something else.

March 20, 2008 at 2:59 PM 
Anonymous Mark L - Parent said...

Dear PTA Parent,

Agree 100% with you. I just wanted to be sure about your candy bar point. All good! Also agree that we cannot stop a child from throwing away their lunch, nor can we force-feed them either. However, allowing treats without nutrition send the wrong message and I wish there was a system in place that states "No Lunch - No Desert". The sugar-high is a reality in the classroom, which makes both teaching and learning difficult.

March 21, 2008 at 9:37 AM 

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