Photo by Lorie Palmer
Mountain View School District 244 Superintendent Kent Stokes presents Chartwells food service manager for MVSD, Maureen Burney, with a plaque from the Idaho State Department of Education’s Child Nutrition Program’s Wellness Wizard award.
As of Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Food service in schools can be a tricky business. Ask Maureen Burney who manages the Chartwells program for Mountain View School District 244.
“There are many, many regulations,” she told the MVSD school board July 21. “A lot of changes came down the pike in 2008.”
Instead of foods being simply nutrient-based they are now component-based, Burney said, and each meal for specific grades – elementary, middle and high school categories – must have a certain number of components in the categories of milk, meat, grains, fruits and vegetables.
“Whole milk has been gone for a very long time, and everything has gone to whole grains in the breads,” she said. “This includes pizza crust and nachos.”
Burney said they must serve certain items to students whether they want them or not and this precipitated “sharing tables.” These areas have been set up so kids may discard certain items that may be eaten by other students.
“We want to continue to educate about good eating habits,” she said. “But there are some things kids just don’t like and this has been a good way to not waste the food.”
Burney discussed the cost of each meal and the fact all meals must be compliant with USDA regulations.
“We targeted at $1.14 per meal last year but meat prices can really drive that up,” she said. “We also have to be very careful and look at sodium levels as there will be a maximum allowance there.”
Burney said this year closed with a zero balance for outstanding fees.
“We have a great staff who works with kids on charges but also call parents to get those balances taken care of,” Burney said. “We’re not in the business of not feeding kids but we also have to be fiscally responsible.”
The board recently renewed its contract with Chartwells.
“We really thank Maureen for her work with our kids and helping stay on budget,” said MVSD 244 Superintendent Kent Stokes.
The Idaho Child Nutrition Program through the Idaho State Department of Education also recognized Burney’s efforts for Chartwells and the district with the Wellness Wizard award for commitment to nutrition standards in the district. Stokes presented Burney with the award plaque at the meeting.