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Derry school lunch questions remain as district adjusts

DERRY - The school district is still adjusting to federal changes in the school lunch program, according to district business manager Jane Simard.

"The food service numbers are significantly less on student sales," Simard said. She said the food services department is still working to determine the cause and whether it is the result of new meal plans and food choices required under state and federal reimbursement guidelines.

"We do have more students on free and reduced lunches, and that is part of it," said Simard.

District food services director Susan Boroskas still sees quite a bit of waste from students not eating their full meals, according to Simard.

To be reimbursed from the state for a full meal this year, students need to take a full meal, sometimes leading students to take food they do not necessarily intend to eat.

Simard said the food services department is continuing to track lunch waste.

Simard also said the district has yet to receive state and federal reimbursement for its lunches.

"We'd be ahead of where we were last year, but we've not been able to get the reimbursement," she said. "I'm sure it's much more difficult for the smaller districts to cover those reimbursements, because we have been waiting for quite a while and we're getting anxious."

The district is also working to comply with the new federal Sixth Sense reimbursement program that gives the district an additional six cents per meal if the district continues to comply with the new USDA food guidelines."We are trying to comply with the program so we can generate the additional revenue.

"I know there has been a lot of talk about whether the new food choices are working among the food services directors and many of us in the food services departments."

Locally, Simard said the district still has a number of unpaid balances for student lunches. "We'd like to remind parents that school lunches and breakfasts are not funded by local taxation," she said. Any parents who have a balance on a student's school lunch account can contact Simard or Boroskas or can sign into the mylunchmoney program through the district website.

aswift@newstote.com

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