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School system losing $60,000 in cafeteria sales

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By PETER SAWYER

The school system has lost $60,000 in cafeteria sales.
Revenue is down because fewer students are buying lunches, and the cost for food is higher, according to a budget amendment the budget and finance committee considered Monday night.
“Our new meal regulations have us serving more fruits and vegetables,” Campbell County School Nutrition Supervisor Vickie Woodard said Wednesday. “Our intent is to teach children to choose healthy foods so it will improve their life to be healthier.”
The Campbell County School System follows USDA guidelines that limit the amount of calories school cafeterias serve each week and require the school system to provide more vegetables and fruits to students, Woodard said.
Fiscally, it is a “double-edged sword” because while healthier food options are more expensive for the school system to purchase, they have been harder to sell to students, Campbell County Finance Director Jeff Marlow said at Monday’s committee meeting.
While the children don’t seem to mind eating the fruits, they don’t like the vegetables, Woodard said Wednesday.
The school system is required to provide a greater variety of vegetable options.
“We’re trying to make those more colorful and appealing so they’ll pick them up,” Woodard said.
However, the school system is still trying to offer traditional meal options, Woodard said.
At the beginning of the year, the USDA put a cap on the amount of grain and meat the school system could serve each week, Woodard said.
“We got people calling in saying, ‘you’re not feeding our kids,’” committee member Steve Rutherford said Monday. Rutherford is also principal at Jacksboro Middle School. “We want to give them the White House number.”
“The students at the high school were very unhappy with us because instead of serving one cup of French fries, we were serving one half cup of French fries,” Woodard said Wednesday.
The cap on amounts of meat and grain the cafeterias can serve has been lifted.
“We’re seeing participation start to come up again,” Woodard said. “The second half of the year, we’re gonna bounce back a little bit.”
Half of the revenue loss, $30,000, has occurred at Campbell County High School, Marlow said.
The school system is losing 100 meals each day during CCHS’ lunch hour, Woodard said.
There are different opinions about why nobody is buying the food, Marlow said.
Marlow gave the commission his opinion why so much revenue was lost at CCHS.
“They drive 1,200 kids through a lunch line in one hour,” Marlow said. “That’s theoretically impossible.”
Woodard has heard a similar theory, but feels there is enough time for students to eat lunch at CCHS.
“What I’m hearing from students is the line is too long for them to wait,” Woodard said. “So they go do something else.”
The long lines are caused because as soon as the lunch hour begins, students flood the cafeteria, Woodard said.
“They (the students) actually have an hour to eat,” Woodard said. “But as soon as that bell rings, it’s still the mindset that they got to go eat now. Everybody thinks they got to go eat as soon as that bell rings.”
The only solution to the problem was to provide more funding, Marlow said.
“They’re options would be to lay off people. They can’t do that,” Marlow after Monday’s committee meeting. “Stop buying food. They can’t do that.”
Instead, the budget and finance committee approved a resolution to transfer $60,000 from the general purpose school fund into the central cafeteria fund. The committee approved five other amendments with the same action. There were 10 yes votes. Committee members David Adkins, Wendell Bailey, Sue Nance, Bob Walden and Bobby White were absent.
Budget amendment 3-8
The county received $8,630 in contributions and gifts for the purpose of building a press box and concession stand at Lonas Young Memorial Park.
“Who made the donation?” Hatmaker asked.
“Mike Malicote,” Marlow said.
Budget amendment 3-9
Federal regulations require newer model vehicles running on diesel fuel to use diesel exhaust fluid to improve the exhaust system process, according to a budget amendment passed Monday. DEF is a new product that must be used in addition to diesel fuel. DEF fuel is 67.5 percent distilled water, and costs 4 dollars per gallon, Marlow said.
Which county vehicles are subject to the requirement, Hatmaker asked.
The two new ambulances the commission approved the purchase of last month, Marlow said. Vehicles that were made in 2012 or later are required to use DEF fuel, according to the budget amendment.
The DEF tank in both ambulances will each hold 10 gallons, Marlow said in an email. They will run about 5,000 miles on 10 gallons of DEF fuel, Marlow said. Each ambulance runs about 2,500 miles a week, Marlow said. The estimated cost for DEF fuel per ambulance will be $1,040 a year, Marlow said.
The budget and finance committee approved a amending the budget to allow $4,000 for the purchase of DEF fuel.
The budget and finance committee approved budget amendments 3-7 through 3-13 with 10 yes votes. Adkins, Bailey, Nance, Walden and White were absent.