Increased regulations and food costs make meals at Rock Island schools a challenge, food service director Deb Magerkurth told school board members Tuesday night.
Ms. Magerkurth said about 130 staff members daily provide 1,861 breakfasts and 4,411 lunchesto the district's students and staff.The meal program is funded by federal and state dollars, as well as students and staff.
The government continues to change school meal requirements, she said, now forcing the district to move to whole grains, eliminate all trans fats and limit sodium, saturated fat and calorie totals.
"Many things the government has been forcing on us we have been doing all along," she said, noting that since she has been a part of the district there have been no trans fats.
The government now requires more fruits and vegetables, she said, adding costs and regulations over which types and amounts of vegetables.
Overall, district food costs have risen the past three years, she said; this year's hike was 9.13 percent. There also is a shortage of fresh and canned fruits and vegetables, she said, because some distributors were not prepared for new government regulations.
Food waste by students also is a large problem, she said. She suggested one remedy could be modifying elementary serving lines to let students choose from a variety of fruit and veggies.
Ms. Magerkurth also wants to see Rock Island High School move to more of a food court system to lower the time students spend in line and increase the number of meals the district can serve. Her wishlist also includes replacing the kitchen site at the former Intermediate Academy to deliver better quality mealsat less expense.
School board members on Tuesday also heard a report on the district's gifted program.
Staff members are now recruiting qualified second-grade students for the voluntary program geared for the top 5 to 8 percent. It currently serves 12 third-grade students, nine fourth-grade students, 12 fifth-grade students and nine sixth-grade students.
The program provides accelerated pacing, enriched experiences, problem-based learning, above-grade reading and frequent guest speakers. The fifth-sixth grade room's students also participate in a technological design program.
Tuesday's school board meeting was the first led by new board president Linda Dothard. Earl Strupp, a former school board member, also rejoined the board after winning a seat in the April 9 election.
Today is Sunday, March 9, the 68th day of 2014. There are 297 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Much damage is being done to sidewalks, shade trees, fences and gardens by hogs that are running at large about town. 1889 -- 125 years ago: H.C. Cleveland was elected air knight captain of Rock Island Division Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias. 1914 -- 100 years ago: B.W. Wilson, authority on birds and their habits, spoke at the weekly luncheon at the Rock Island Club. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The famous Dionne quintuplets have been invited to visit King George and Queen Elizabeth in Toronto on May 22, but Papa Dionne thinks their majesties should include the Callander nursery in their tour. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Ever been smothered by funny stuff? Well more than 2,600 people were last night when two boys named Tom and Dick Smothers took a "rocky, twisting road to folk music" in Davenport Masonic Temple. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Moline residents soon may be asked to recycle part of their garbage and might even get paid for it.