Update/FAQs Letter for Parents Carta de actualizacion para los padres

  Carta de actualización para los padres.pdf
       March 2017

The Gunnison School District Food and Nutrition Services

Dear parents,

We are happy to share the following annual update on nutritional services provided by the District.

 How is the school lunch program supported financially?

●$279,664 is budgeted annually from the District’s General Fund to support labor and food costs above what meal prices generate.  The district makes this financial investment in order to provide the best quality product at the lowest possible price.
●The District is a participant in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch and School Breakfast Program (NSLP and SBP). The cost of free and reduced meals served are partially reimbursed through this program. In school year 2015-2016, the federal government supported the District’s Nutrition Services in the amount of $231,842.
●Daily, approximately 300 free and reduced meals are served in Gunnison, and 30 in Crested Butte. Approximately 7% of Crested Butte students receive free or reduced meals and approximately 33% of Gunnison students receive free or reduced meals.

What nutritional guidelines are followed?
●We follow nutrition standards set forth by the SBP and NSLP.
●Ultimately, the guidelines come from the Institute of Medicine https://www.fns.usda.gov/pressrelease/2014/009814
●In 2010, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act was passed with bipartisan support to address childhood obesity. The SBP and NSLP encompassed these nutritional guidelines including using whole grains, increased volume and variety of fruits and vegetables  limits on saturated fat, no trans fat

Do the school breakfast and lunch programs meet “minimum standards” per the USDA’s school breakfast and lunch programs?
●Yes. The district is audited every three years by the CDE OSN. The most recent audit was in fall of 2015.

Do the  breakfast and lunch programs exceed minimum standards set forth by the USDA’s NSBP and NSLP?
●Yes! Many school districts follow a “heat and eat” model, whereby pre-prepared meals from vendors are simply heated and served. We do not follow this model. Most meals involve multistep preparation from raw ingredients. These meals are prepared on site.
●Occasionally, a processed item that meets the Child Nutrition criteria as defined by the USDA is served.
●Gunnison High School cafeteria manager Trina Lull “peak(s) children's curiosity about other cultures and ethnic groups through food, while expanding their taste palate.”

Where do ingredients and foods used in the nutrition services program come from?
●Starting in school year 2016-17, the District began purchasing most of its food from Andrews Food Service out of Pueblo, CO via the Colorado BOCES buying cooperative. The cooperative achieves competitive pricing based on buying power and is also responsible for the formal bidding process.  Federal law 7 CFR requires that schools enter into formal bidding when purchases exceed the federal small purchase threshold of $150,000.  In school year 2015-16, the nutritional program’s food costs were $280,918.  School districts within the cooperative have voiced concerns with some of the quality, delivery, and practices from this company. Therefore, the cooperative has discussed these concerns and have addressed them in its Invitation for Bid for the 2017-18 school year.
●As a participant in the National School lunch and breakfast program, the School District receives entitlement from USDA Foods purchased by the USDA and donated to school districts for use by their food service operations. The dollar amount is based upon the number of meals served for the prior school year and the USDA Foods rate of assistance (determined annually). The District’s entitlement is $32,558 for 2016-17.  Of this, $14,438 was allotted towards “Direct Delivery”, which includes meat, bread products, and packaged fruits and vegetables.  The remaining $18,121 was allocated towards produce distributed by the  U.S. Department of Defense. The D.O.D. provides quality fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. This fall included Colorado potatoes and apples. Other popular items included a variety of greens, fresh berries, kiwi, and juicy oranges.
●Within the valley, the District collaborated with Mountain Roots this past fall to incorporate school garden produce into the meals and on the salad bar at GHS.

Does the District support the idea of using more local products?

Yes! The District recognizes the benefits of local foods on a community, state and regional level.  We are in the planning stages of adding more local foods to our nutritional program, which requires collaboration, partnerships, and budgeting considerations.The CDE OSN strongly supports local food and offers many resources to help the District achieve this goal.

What environmentally sustainable practices exist in the school cafeterias?
●The District stopped selling bottled water, as all cafeterias have close access to water fountains.
●Recently, the Gunnison Community School replaced disposable salad containers with reusable dishwasher friendly melamine bowls. 
●As a guideline, the District purchases reusable dishware and utensils . If a cafeteria is short staffed or there is an equipment issue, like a dishwasher goes down, disposables may be used to ensure the student’s nutritional needs are met.

What’s included in a breakfast meal and lunch meal?
●A breakfast meal offers: fruit/vegetable, grains or a protein source, and milk. A student must select 3 of these, including a fruit/vegetable.
●A lunch meal offers: fruit, vegetable, grains, a protein source, and milk. A student must select 3 of these, including a fruit/vegetable.

Can items be purchased individually? Can items be purchased in addition to a meal?
●Yes. They are priced individually. Items bought in addition to a meal will be charged additionally. Please communicate this to your student.

Can my student charge purchases?
●Yes. Every student has a pin number and an account that they can charge cafeteria purchases to. Manage their account, pay balances, add funds and set up autopay on www.mypaymentsplus.com

Why can’t snacks and meals be purchases between serving times?
●The District’s application with the OSN indicates approved serving times that we must adhere to.
●The register is closed between serving times to adhere to this regulation, effectively utilize staff, keep labor costs down, and adhere to tight financial controls.
●Between meals, cafeteria staff are prepare for the next meal, meals later in the week,and clean.  Cafeteria managers do inventory, maintenance, training, stockroom management, ordering, complete required documentation by the State, produce operational reports, and work with families to manage student accounts.  Thanks for understanding the regulations, that the staff is busy between meals, and that purchases can only be made when the register is open!

 Please address questions or concerns to: Kristen Osborn, School Nutrition Director, kosborn@gunnisonschools.net

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