Monday, July 28, 2014

Strategy and Eating Healthy

Eating Healthy: This summer new healthy choice rules were instituted by the Federal government to add to the healthy choice rules that were put in place last year. To give a quick history lesson, the Federal government forced schools to serve healthier foods. Those foods had to have a certain nutritional mix. In the beginning many students, especially those who had commitments right after school, found the food did not sustain them until dinner.

Schools across the country, including West Genesee, lost money because students were not buying the healthier choices. So last year we brought in a diabetic nutritionist and a group of student taste testers to help revamp menus. Our Assistant Superintendent for Management Services also stepped in to maximize every piece of our food service program. The result?  Our food service program nearly broke even.

The next step in the healthy choices initiative will be another large challenge for schools. Newer restrictions on sodium, sugar, and fat will severely limit what is able to be served, and many more whole grains based foods will need to be served as well.

A decent article about the challenges related to this new healthy choice initiative can be found by clicking here, and a quick Google search for "Federal Healthy Choice 2014" will give you a broader picture. (For information directly from the USDA about the program, click here.)

Some schools are not going to implement these new choices at the expense of the money they receive for students eligible for free and reduced lunch. This is quite a gamble in my view, but I will be watching schools who try this route very closely.

Our own analysis for West Genesee indicates that if we were to refuse to implement the healthy choices initiative, we would have to raise our lunch prices to approximately $4.10 to make up for the government funds we currently receive for free and reduced lunch eligible students. I am watching to see if schools that are refusing the initiative have an increase in students purchasing lunch.  If so, then we might be able to modify the plan and take a look at it.  Right now though, we are going to work within the rules and see if we can make the new initiative work!

West Genesee Street Project Update from the Department of Transportation: We expect for the project to be substantially complete (only a punchlist to remain) after August 8. Over the next week, you will see:

  • minor curb and drainage work, 
  • topsoil being placed, and 
  • the enclosed drainage system being cleaned. 
In addition, weather depending, the final top course of pavement will be placed on West Genesee Street between Dunning Drive and NYS 173 beginning this Friday and Saturday, and finishing early next week.

One unknown that may affect the schedule, is the condition of the enclosed drainage system on West Genesee Street near NYS 173. The condition of the pipes are currently being evaluated to see if replacement is required (the pipes have not been cleaned yet), and we may either replace them or insert a cured in-place liner in them. If this affects the schedule or requires additional lane closures beyond August 8, we will be sure to let you know.

So much for summer being quiet and relaxing around the office!  Some wonderful weather in store for this week. Enjoy, and I will post again soon.

Take care.