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 Wednesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2014. There are 294 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Soldiers from the barracks on the Arsenal manage to elude the vigilance of the guard nearly every day and come to town armed. In the hands of excited and perhaps intoxicated men, these weapons are dangerous. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Manufacturing's merchants and professional men of Moline were petitioning the Western Union Telegraph company to establish a telegraph office in the business area of the city. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Three Rock Island students, the Misses Eleanor Cleaveland, Dorothy McCabe and Ruth West, escaped injury when fire destroyed College Hall at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War gave a party for William H. Stremmel, the only survivor of John Buford Post 243, GAR. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The East Moline Grade School Board of Education last night granted salary increases totaling about $47,000 to teachers and staff members. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Five champion spellers from the Rock Island/Milan School district were selected after competition this week at Modern Woodmen of America. Winners are Sarah Cottay, Christopher Gilbrich, Jared Vogele, Kedric Roper and Kenny Stevenson.