continued “As you know, last year was the first year the district used BOCES services for the food services program, and we came in at a rather rough time in the school lunch world with the implementation of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act,” Swift said. “So we spent a lot of time this past year bringing the schools up to the new standards.”
She said the food services program worked hard to try to maintain the levels of breakfast and lunch participation it saw the year before, but that some of the new changes were not favorable for the kids.
“We did see a decline in both breakfast and lunch,” Swift said, noting that lunch sales were hit particularly hard and experienced a 13 percent decline. “We did end this year with a loss. Because this is the first year BOCES is in the district, we did not receive the aid for the program, so that was part of that.”
Next year, the program will continue to experiment with menu options including new sauces, low-fat products and, for example, “a white-wheat bread that the kids don’t realize is wheat,” Swift said. “But with these products comes increased price.”
The food costs for next year are “through the roof,” she said.
Swift also said the program is looking into reducing labor costs — “not by cutting jobs,” but by choosing not to replace employees who may enter retirement.
Another focus for the coming year will be to increase the breakfast and lunch sales by 2,000 meals in total per day, or 100 meals per meal session per building, she said.
Swift brought up one of the board’s action items — to increase the cost of breakfast and lunch prices by 5 cents, at all levels, effective September 2013 — during her presentation.