School food will have new taste

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Would your child like a little asparagus for lunch?

That will be one of the new options available to students who attend public schools starting on Wednesday.

But the biggest change will be the ability to put money in your child’s account for meals through the use of the internet.

Cindy Kleinhelter, director of food services for the Bullitt County Public School System, is excited about a number of changes planned for students who eat breakfast or lunch each day.

“Technology will allow us to do some new things,” said Kleinhelter.

The ability to place money in a child’s meal account is a major step forward. It will also allow the district to put into place some procedures to decrease the amount of past due accounts in the cafeterias.

“We have to run the food services like a business,” said Kleinhelter.

With over $80,000 in past due accounts, Kleinhelter said the district doesn’t want to spend time pursuing matters through the court system. But that possibility does exist.

Instead, she hopes the new system will work to prevent future issues from arriving.

For example, the system will alert parents when their child’s accounts are getting low. Cafeteria workers will also have a picture of the child on the computer to make sure no one takes another student’s account number.

There will be a $2 transaction fee each time money is deposited into the account.

The system will also allow parents to see what their child is eating each day.

This year, Kleinhelter said there would also be some changes in how students can charge meals if they forget their lunch money.

Elementary students will have a limit of five charges. If that is exceeded, Kleinhelter said there would be an alternate meal provided.

“We will never deny a child a meal,” said Kleinhelter.

Middle school students can charge up to three meals and be provided up to five alternate meals for the year.

At the high school level, there will be no meals charged but they can have up to five alternate meals for the year.

If families are having difficulty providing money for meals, Kleinhelter said every student is given a free and reduced meal form at the beginning of the school year.

Under mandates from the USDA, free water will be provided in lunchrooms. This could be through a water fountain or pitchers of water.

Moving toward a healthier and a greener menu, Kleinhelter said choices would increase this year for those eating lunch.

Expect to see asparagus on the meal more often, as well as other more healthy choices. Menus have also been simplified and will rotate offerings every few months.

(See each Monday’s Pioneer News for the lunch and breakfast menus.)

Kleinhelter said cafeterias in all schools would be open and operational when classes begin on Wednesday.