Vacaville school board inks $1M contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A charter school petition denial and approval of the 2017-18 budgets were the main stories that emerged last week from a Vacaville Unified governing board meeting, but some other pocketbook matters also crossed the trustees’ dais and were approved.

Trustees OK’d a so-called “piggyback co-op bid” with San Gabriel Valley Food Services to contract with Gold Star Foods, in an amount not to exceed $1 million. The contract applies to the distribution of frozen and refrigerated foods for the 2017-18 academic year, with an option to extend the bid for two more. Vacaville Unified currently gets some of its food through Gold Star, which has a large warehouse in Dixon.

Source: Vacaville school board inks $1M contract with food services firm for frozen, refrigerated foods

VUSD summer feeding program well underway – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

For dozens of Vacaville children, school is out but lunch in still in.

Vacaville Unified’s annual free summer feeding program, dubbed Free Lunch with Friends, is well underway at several citywide locations Mondays through Fridays.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the program, organized by the district’s child nutrition department, is open is open to all children, infants to 18. No registration is required.

Food distribution dates, times and locations are as follows:

• 11 to 11:45 a.m., through July 14: Hemlock Elementary, 400 Hemlock St.

• 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., through Aug. 11: Vacaville Public Library, downtown branch, 1 Town Square Place.

 

Source: VUSD summer feeding program well underway

Wood stadium contract, hikes in meal prices up for discussion at Vacaville Unified meeting – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The contract for building the new Wood High athletics stadium, slight increases in school meals for the 2017-18 year, and suicide prevention presentation are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight.

As expected, the governing board will likely approve a contract with Alten Construction, a Richmond-based firm, to build the long-awaited athletics stadium at Wood High. The contract is not to exceed $13,950,000, a little more than $1 million more than previously projected by Dan Banowetz, the director of facilities.

There was no explanation in agenda documents about why the contract increased from a previously announced figure of $12.8 million. The contact signing will come exactly one week after school and district officials held a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony at the Marshall Road campus.

Source: Wood stadium contract, hikes in meal prices up for discussion at Vacaville Unified meeting

In VUSD, ag leader’s school lunch proposals met with a shrug, for now – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Director of Child Nutrition for Vacaville Unified, Juan Cordon, more or less shrugged his shoulders hearing news Monday that Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue plans to roll back part of former first lady Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative of more strict nutritional standards for school lunches in the nation’s public schools.

Cordon on Tuesday said Perdue’s desire to give U.S. school districts greater leeway in meeting nutritional requirements for meal programs “don’t do much because the waivers to white grains are already in place.”

“There’s a waiver for school districts if they are losing money and having difficulties in getting whole grain items,” he said. “Basically, we’ll continue to have that option.”

Source: In VUSD, ag leader’s school lunch proposals met with a shrug, for now – The Reporter

 

Increased meal prices, large construction contracts on Fairfield-Suisun agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Increased breakfast and lunch prices at middle schools and high schools, contracts for parking lot, field and portable classroom expansion at two schools, and reviews of Title 1 (federal funding) programs at two schools are on the agenda when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet tonight.

Trustees are expected to approve the meal price increases, effective July 1, that call for breakfast prices to rise from $1.50 to $1.75 and lunch prices to rise from $3 to $3.25 at the district’s secondary schools. Breakfasts and lunches served at elementary schools will remain the same for the time being, however.

According to agenda documents, Margan Holloway, director of child nutrition services, noted U.S. Code 1760 requires schools to charge students not eligible for the free and reduced-price meal program a price that is, on average, equal to the difference between free meal reimbursement and paid meal reimbursement.

 

Source: Increased meal prices, large construction contracts on Fairfield-Suisun agenda

Applications for Summer Food Service Program – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that applications are available for the Summer Food Service Program, a federally funded, state-administered program that serves meals to California’s low-income children.

“Providing nutritious meals to students during the school year helps students stay alert and focused in class,” Torlakson said. “Making sure children have access to healthy food during the summer is just as critical. Those students will return to school in the fall ready to learn.”

The Summer Food Service Program reimburses participating organizations that provide free meals to children 18 and younger when students are on summer vacation or when those students who attend year-round schools are out of school for 15 or more consecutive school days.

Source: Applications for Summer Food Service Program – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

School’s out but lunch is in and looking fresher – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

School’s out for the summer, but a free, nutritious lunch for kids, always popular, is still in at several places across Vacaville.

Vacaville Unified’s summer feeding program began earlier this week, with lunchtime meals available Monday through Friday for children at three sites, with a fourth one, due to popular demand and an expressed need, added today, said Juan Cordon, the school district’s new director of child nutrition.

They are Markham Elementary, 11:30 a.m. to noon; Public Library-Town Square, 1 Town Square Place, where food is delivered, noon to 12:30 p.m.; and Fairmont Charter Elementary, 1355 Marshall Road, 12:30 to 1 p.m.; and, newly added, the Vacaville Boys & Girls Club, 100 Holly Lane, also where food is delivered, 1 to 1:30 p.m.

via: Schools out but lunch is in – The Reporter

Free meals program underway in Vacaville – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Schools may be out for the summer, but lunch, always popular, is still in.

Vacaville Unified’s summer feeding program began this week, with free nutritious meals available Monday through Friday for children at three sites across the city.

They are Markham Elementary, 11:30 a.m. to noon; Public Library-Town Square, 1 Town Square Place, noon to 12:30 p.m.; and Fairmont Charter Elementary, 1355 Marshall Road, 12:30 to 1 p.m.

Lunches will continue through the summer months until the first week of school in mid-August. Classes begin Aug. 18.

District officials believe some 17,000 sack lunches will be served while the program — in its fifth year and funded largely by the USDA and in-kind donations from local charities — is in effect.

 

Source: Free meals program underway in Vacaville

CDE wants sponsors for summer meals program – The Reporter

School in eastern Solano County will end in early June, but low-income children’s hunger and their need for healthy meals will not.

Schools, camps, nonprofits, Indian tribal governments and government offices among many entities and groups are being urged by state education leaders to apply to become Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors. It is a way to make sure poor children get nutritious meals once school is out.

Applications are due before June 1, said Peter Tira, a spokesman for the California Department of Education, which issued a press release.

“Summer for our students should be a time of discovery, fun, and making memories,” said state schools chief Tom Torlakson. “For many California children from low-income families, however, summer can represent just the opposite, with limited opportunities for educational enrichment, a lack of safe places for social activities, or a time without healthy meals to eat.”

Source: CDE wants sponsors for summer meals program

CDE seeks summer meals sponsors for low-income students – The Reporter

School in eastern Solano County will end in early June, but low-income children’s hunger and their need for healthy meals will not.

Schools, camps, nonprofits, Indian tribal governments and government offices among many entities and groups are being urged by state education leaders to apply to become Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors. It is a way to make sure poor children get nutritious meals once school is out.

Applications are due before June 1, said Peter Tira, a spokesman for the California Department of Education, which issued a press release.

“Summer for our students should be a time of discovery, fun, and making memories,” said state schools chief Tom Torlakson. “For many California children from low-income families, however, summer can represent just the opposite, with limited opportunities for educational enrichment, a lack of safe places for social activities, or a time without healthy meals to eat.”

Source: CDE seeks summer meals sponsors for low-income students

Food costs, budgets, contract proposals on TUSD agenda tonight – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The costs of breakfasts and lunches, the second interim budget report, and adoption of a district initial contract proposal to teachers is on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.

Ken Forrest, the district’s chief business official, will tell the five-member governing board that cafeteria meal costs largely match those of surrounding districts.

However, a reduction in the state’s reimbursement rate and an increase in labor, food and supply costs require a 10-cent increase for breakfasts and lunches.

The price increase will help the cafeteria fund to continue to bear “indirect costs” from the general fund and continue with program improvements, he will report, according to agenda documents.

Trustees are expected to approve the increase, which will take effect at the outset of the new fiscal year, July 1.

Source: Food costs, budgets, contract proposals on TUSD agenda tonight

Students Eligible for Free School Meals – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today reported a 32 percent increase in the number of students automatically approved to receive free meals in California schools as a result of collaborative efforts among three state agencies, two legislators and food policy advocates.

In December 2015, the last month complete data are available, the 32 percent increase meant that 326,029 additional students were automatically approved for free school meals in Californias school nutrition programs. That brings the total number of automatically eligible students in the state to 1.3 million.

Students are enrolled in the free meals program each month through a federally mandated “direct certification” process that grants automatic eligibility to students in families already participating in the CalFresh and California Work Opportunity or Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) benefit programs without the families having to complete any additional meal applications. Direct certification relieves school districts and low-income families from another administrative burden and helps ensure the most vulnerable children have access to nutritious meals during the school day.

via Students Eligible for Free School Meals – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education).

Seeks Sponsors for Summer Meals Program – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today urged eligible organizations—schools, camps, nonprofits, Indian tribal governments, and government offices among them—to apply to become Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors and ensure underprivileged children have access to nutritious meals once school is out. Applications are due before June 1, 2016.

“Summer for our students should be a time of discovery, fun, and making memories,” Torlakson said. “For many California children from low-income families, however, summer can represent just the opposite with limited opportunities for educational enrichment, a lack of safe places for social activities, or a time without healthy meals to eat.”

Good summer nutrition plays an important role in addressing childhood obesity as well as combatting the “summer slide,” a learning loss that many children experience during the summer months.

via Seeks Sponsors for Summer Meals Program – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education).

School Meals May Expose Children to Unsafe Levels of BPA | Suisun City, CA Patch

By Paige Miller

Federal standards for school meals are intended to keep kids healthy. But with emphasis solely on nutrition, schools are missing another component critical to students’ health – exposure to toxic chemicals, according to a study led by Jennifer Hartle, a postdoctoral researcher at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.

School meals may contain unsafe levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical often found in canned goods and plastic packaging, according to the first-of-its-kind study published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. BPA can disrupt human hormones and has been linked to health effects ranging from cancer to reproductive issues.

via Stanford Study Indicates School Meals May Expose Children to Unsafe Levels of BPA | Suisun City, CA Patch.

CDC Says School Lunches Getting Healthier – Education News

By Polymnia Hadjipanayiotou

In line with several government initiatives, school lunches are becoming healthier, federal officials have revealed in a new report.

Meals now include whole grains and more fruit and vegetables and are more likely to have less salt, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey reveals. About 97% of schools offered a whole grain option for breakfast and 94% had a similar option for lunch in 2014.

CDC officials analyzed school surveys from 2000, 2006 and 2014 to see how the 2012 policies mandated by the Department of Agriculture affected the meal choices offered at school cafeterias, and their findings conclude that overall, lunches are getting healthier.

  • “The standards require serving more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and gradually reducing sodium content over 10 years,” the CDC officials wrote, something many schools are implementing already.
  • “Almost all schools offered whole grain foods each day for breakfast and lunch, and most offered two or more vegetables and two or more fruits each day for lunch,”

The report says that almost eight in ten schools served two or more vegetables for lunch every day, while 78% percent of schools served two or more fruits.

via CDC Says School Lunches Getting Healthier.

School Food Workers Need More Training, Resources, Survey Finds – Education Week

By Evie Blad

School food workers say they need more training and resources to keep up with changes made in the wake of new nutrition standards created under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act.

In a recent survey by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 58 percent of 3,372 total respondents said cooks and front-line servers needed training on basic cooking skills, and 68 percent said nutrition directors needed training in developing or modifying menus to meet the new standards.

“To run successful programs and meet updated nutrition standards, most school districts expected to make at least one change in their production approach, like cooking more meals from scratch or implementing recipe changes to ensure appropriate and consistent nutrient content,” the report says.

The nationally representative survey was administered during the 2012-13 school year. Thats before the U.S. Department of Agriculture set training and professional development standards for school food workers. Those standards set minimum training and education levels for food personnel that vary by district size.

via School Food Workers Need More Training, Resources, Survey Finds – Rules for Engagement – Education Week.

VUSD trustees face light agenda tonight – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A pair of construction contracts that call for trustee votes and two in the consent calendar not requiring a vote are part of a relatively light agenda that Vacaville Unified leaders will face when they meet tonight in Vacaville.

But the governing board, with president Whit Whitman joining via teleconference from Detroit Lakes, Minn., may face public comments stemming from Tuesday’s workshop 5-1 vote to re-open Sierra Vista Elementary in fall 2016, with the school’s grade configuration — K-6, K-8 or 9-12 — still open for discussion and stakeholder input, pending a final trustee vote in the coming weeks and months.

In more formal matters, trustees are expected to approve an $87,000 contract with Swank Construction to repair portable classrooms at Browns Valley and Alamo elementaries.

via VUSD trustees face light agenda tonight.

Vacaville Unified School District cafeterias come to the community – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

As a light rain fell Wednesday morning, Helena Pendergraft, 10, happily munched a Granny Smith apple near the main entrance of Vacaville Public Library-Town Square in downtown Vacaville. With each bite, her eyes and smiles seemed to widen.

Standing nearby, her sister, Trinity, 6, pointed to a small box of chocolate milk when asked which item was her favorite part of the free bagged lunch. To her, the lender, foil-wrapped pizza, half-dozen celery sticks, and a red delicious apple were also-rans on the yummy meter.

via Vacaville Unified School District cafeterias come to the community.

Free summer lunch program begins today – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Vacaville schools are out, but, beginning today, the school cafeterias will be coming to several Vacaville apartment complexes, a couple of city parks, and a downtown Vacaville library.

From 10:40 a.m. to 1:40 p.m. Mondays through Fridays until July 31, trucks and volunteers will take free bagged lunches to 15 neighborhood sites. They range from Lynwood Knolls and the Vacaville Park apartment complexes in the southern sector of Vacaville to the Brownsville Estates to Bennett Hill complexes in the northern sector.

In its fourth year — funded largely by the federal government, with in-kind donations from local charities, including The Father’s House — the program serves children, infants to 18 years. No registration is required and no questions are asked.

via Free summer lunch program begins today.

Fairfield-Suisun schools to offer summer youth meal program – Daily Republic

By Ian Thompson

The Fairfield-Suisun School District is sponsoring a summer food program at 12 schools and 11 community sites this summer with many starting to serve breakfasts and lunches to those 18 years old and younger starting this week.

The program provides free weekday meals to local children and teens during the summer so that their nutritional needs met during the school year are also met while school is out for the summer, according to program announcement. Times when the meals will be served and ending dates for the program vary by location.

via Fairfield-Suisun schools to offer summer youth meal program.