Calif. elementary schools switch to satellite meal program

Meals will be prepared in district Nutrition Center and transported to schools.

June 10—Thirty-one Fresno (Calif) Unified elementary schools will soon replace their hot-meal programs with pre-packaged breakfasts and lunches, a plan the district says could save costs. Cafeteria workers argue the plan violates employee contracts.

Thirty-seven Fresno elementary schools already use so-called "satellite lunches"—meals prepared a day before they're served that are brought across town from the district's Nutrition Center kitchen to campus lunchrooms.

The 31 remaining elementary kitchens already are equipped to store and heat up the meals, said Karin Temple, assistant superintendent for operation services, and will transition to the new program in August. Temple said the switch is in line with the district's long-term vision for the Nutrition Center, which opened in 2008 and already pre-packages 30,000 meals daily. That number will double next year, she said.