Serving Nutritious Meals to Low-income Families – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that disadvantaged families in California can now find updated lists of child and adult care centers offering nutritious meals at low or no cost through the California Department of Education’s website.

“Providing children with healthy meals is critical to their physical, emotional, and academic growth,” said Torlakson. “Parents who are struggling with food insecurity can find out where to go to ensure their children receive the proper nutrition they need to thrive. I encourage families to take advantage of these centers.”

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Over 8,000 local child care centers and 14,000 sponsored day care home providers in California participate. These facilities provide nutritious food to infants, children, and adults.

All children enrolled in these day care homes receive meals at no charge. Most participating child care centers also provide meals at no charge, or free and reduced-price (F/RP) meals are available.

Source: Serving Nutritious Meals to Low-income Families – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

New CDE Mobile App—CA Meals for Kids – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the release of the California Department of Education’s (CDE) CA Meals for Kids mobile app. The app allows users to find the locations of California’s Summer and Afterschool Meal Programs, which are spread throughout the state. These programs provide no-cost meals to children aged eighteen and under.

“It is critical that children continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session. This helps to counter summer learning loss and ensures that students are able to return to the classroom ready to learn,” said Torlakson. “This application will make it easier for families and caregivers to locate the sites closest to them and receive other information about meal services.”

The CA Meals for Kids App draws upon information submitted to the CDE Nutrition Services Division by local program sponsors and provides the most up-to-date information about meal services available in the community. Children and families can use location-based searches to find meal sites, dates, and times. The app also allows for searches by site name, ZIP code, and city.

Source: New CDE Mobile App—CA Meals for Kids – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)

A 21st century kitchen is at VUSD’s Jepson Middle School – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 21st-century California school kitchen and the food served in them only partially resemble what, say, a 40-year-old might recall, and some evidence is at Jepson Middle School in Vacaville.

Mystery meat? Not a questionably gray, watery slice in sight, but there was plentiful freshly made meatloaf, mashed potatoes, tomato soup, green salad, bread at 11:30 a.m. Friday, when the school’s eighth-graders showed up to file into the newly remodeled space that came with a price tag of nearly $1 million. The cost was due, in part, to extensive structural rot and other problems in the former space that required construction workers to “totally gut the place,” noted Jennifer Leonard, public information officer for Vacaville Unified.

Now there are the familiar gleaming, easy-to-clean silvery steel shelves running the length of the roughly 30-by-30 kitchen, the small cartons of milk stacked by the hundreds, stations to pick up a hot main dish, the cash register (now electronic and quiet) at the end of the line.

Fairfield-Suisun will no longer charge students co-pay on reduced-price breakfasts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

It’s only 30 cents, but it will be a welcome financial benefit for Fairfield-Suisun Unified students and families and the school district.

The district’s Child Nutrition Services Department announced Friday it will no longer charge the 30-cent co-pay for reduced-price breakfasts, a new policy that takes effect Jan. 8 and remains in effect for the rest of the school year.

Those students who are eligible for reduced-priced meals will be able to eat breakfast at school for free, Tim Goree, executive director of administrative services and community engagement, wrote in a press release.

In the prepared statement, he added that by “using a tool” provided by the state Department of Education, the district’s Child Nutrition Services Department estimated a 64 percent increase in student participation in the breakfast program if the co-pay was eliminated.

Source: Fairfield-Suisun will no longer charge students co-pay on reduced-price breakfasts

CA Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Meals – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today that more than 800,000 California students are now eligible to receive free and reduced priced meals from the state school lunch program through a more streamlined and automated state-level Direct Certification process.

Local education agencies (LEAs) can now use Medi-Cal data included on the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) direct certification reports to certify eligible students. The data exchange between the state departments and the LEAs takes place securely without disclosing a student’s Medicaid status, health information, or specific income data.

This Direct Certification process eliminates the need for families to fill out applications, reduces the administrative tasks of verifying and processing those applications, and identifies eligible students in a more expedient timeline.

Source: CA Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Meals – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)

Districts to use automated process to certify free lunch-eligible students – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

California families with public school students will no longer be saddled with filling out applications to make sure the children are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches.

Instead, local school districts will use Medi-Cal data as a way to certify eligibility, state schools chief Tom Torlakson noted in a press release issued just before the Thanksgiving holiday break.

The automated process, which affects more than 800,000 K-12 students and began after July 1, includes information from California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) in order to streamline the process through “direct certification,” Cynthia Butler, a spokeswoman for Torlakson, wrote in the prepared statement.

Source: Districts to use automated process to certify free lunch-eligible students

Fairfield-Suisun USD Serves Free and Reduced-Price Meals – Daily Republic

By Tim Goree

School Year 2017-18

Public Media Release for Free and Reduced-Price Meals

Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District announces its policy to serve nutritious meals every school day under the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and/or Afterschool Snack Program. Effective July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals if the household income is less than or equal to the federal guidelines.

Source: Good News: Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District Serves Free and Reduced-Price Meals

Revised meal payment policy on Dixon USD agenda – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

An explanation about a delayed release for the latest state standardized test scores and a revised food services meal payment policy are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.

Mike Walbridge, assistant superintendent for educational services, will explain the reason for the delay, which the state Department of Education has chalked up to an unspecified “data problem.” The 2017 California Assessment of Student Proficiency and Progress, or CAASPP, measures student skills in English and math for students in grades three through eight and 11th grades.

The five-member governing board will consider the new meal payment policy, as presented by Melissa Mercado, the chief business official.

In brief, the policy will require cafeteria workers and district staff to increase their efforts to inform parents or guardians of their student’s delinquent meal account. Once a limit of $50 is reached, the student will no longer be able to charge meals, and, after all efforts to collect the debts are made, district officials may prohibit seniors from participating in senior activities, including graduation, or possibly delay the sending of a student’s report card.

Source: Revised meal payment policy on Dixon Unified School District agenda

Dixon USD trustees focuses on meal debt recovery plan, sixth-grade transition – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

A debt recovery plan for school lunch accounts, and updates on sixth-graders’ transition to C.A. Jacobs Intermediate School and the possibility of reconfiguring the district’s elementary school model are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight.

Melissa Mercado, the district’s new chief business officer, will lead the discussion on the food services department’s plans to get families to pay off meal debts.

The agenda item comes two weeks after the five-member board first heard of the plan from Superintendent Brian Dolan, which came after headlines about public rage directed at American schools that resort to so-called “lunch shaming” policies that humiliate children with meal debts.

Since July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has required school districts to adopt policies for taking care of delinquent student accounts for breakfast and lunch meals. While the agency, which funds the meal programs, is not specifically barring most of the embarrassing methods — such as serving cheap sandwiches instead of hot meals or sending children home with reminders, such as hand stamps — districts are being encouraged to inform parents at the start of the school year, so children don’t go hungry.

Source: Dixon Unified School District trustees focuses on meal debt recovery plan, sixth-grade transition

TUSD agenda: 45-day budget revision, hike in meal costs – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

The 45-day budget revision, a 5-cent increase for school breakfasts and lunches and the adoption of school district goals are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight.

Sonia Lasyone, the chief business officer, will present the 45-day revision to the district’s 2017-18 budget of $56.7 million, with $1.2 million in deficit spending and a $4.8 million ending fund balance.

In accord with the Budget Act, California school districts are required to make public any revisions to their annual budgets after the initial adoption on or before July 1 every year.

In the case of Travis, Lasyone will tell the five-member governing board that revenues, because of one-time mandated dollars, will increase nearly $800,000 this coming year. Additionally, Local Control Funding Formula sources will drop by $19,000 this fiscal year, and by $131,000 and $199,000, respectively, in the next two fiscal years.

Source: TUSD agenda: 45-day budget revision, hike in meal costs

“Food shaming” not an issue as DUSD deals with meal debts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

After a national chorus of outrage, American public schools are rethinking so-called “lunch shaming” policies that humiliate children with meal debts.

Since July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has required school districts to adopt policies for taking care of delinquent student accounts for breakfast and lunch meals. While the agency, which funds the meal programs, is not specifically barring most of the embarrassing methods — such as serving cheap sandwiches instead of hot meals or sending children home with reminders, such as hand stamps — districts are being encouraged to inform parents at the start of the school year, so children don’t go hungry.

It is an issue that turned up last week on the Dixon Unified governing board agenda, as district leaders seeks solutions to the sizable number of unpaid lunch accounts.

via: “Food shaming” not an issue as DUSD deals with meal debts.

Healthy meals help kids succeed in school – Daily Republic

By Lisa Larsen

Making healthier choices from all five food groups is a simple and proven way to help children succeed in school.

A growing body of research links nutrition and achievement, meaning that kids who eat well do better in school. The start of the school year is a great time to give children every academic advantage possible by encouraging participation in the school breakfast and lunch program and including nutrition education in the classroom.

School meals are modeled after MyPlate and provide a convenient and affordable way for families to ensure children have access to healthy food at school. Student participation in school breakfast or lunch programs is associated with improvement in grades, standardized test scores and school attendance.

Source: Healthy meals help kids succeed in school

DUSD agenda: lunch bills, Oversight Committee, medical billing contract – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Dixon Unified leaders, when they meet Thursday, will discuss solutions to the sizable number of unpaid lunch accounts, legal requirements for the Measure Q Citizens Oversight Committee, a formal resolution establishing the committee, and a contract for Medi-Cal billing services.

The five-member governing board will hear a report from Superintendent Brian Dolan about the rural eastern Solano County school district’s food service program that will require future decisions.

Among them are actions to take when a student has an unpaid balance on their food service account; methods to collect such debts; and a general fund contribution to pay for breakfasts at Anderson Elementary and breakfasts and lunches at Maine Prairie High, a continuation school.

Source: DUSD agenda: Unpaid lunch bills, Citizens Oversight Committee, medical billing contract

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)